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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.76%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 41.18%
Total Crap47.06%

2 reviews, 5 user ratings

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Leap Year (2010)
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by William Goss

"Anything for a Ring, or a Laugh"
2 stars

Anna (Amy Adams) is one of those thirty-something, high-maintenance career women in the movies who has everything under control save for one thing: marriage. Her long-term boyfriend (Adam Scott) loves her dearly, but has yet to propose, so when he goes off to Dublin for some generic conference, the never-impulsive, totally-not-desperate Anna goes after him once her father (John Lithgow, barely there) makes mention of an Irish tradition on Leap Day where women propose to men instead of vice versa. Because – let’s face it – she couldn’t just propose to him here in the States, and on just any ol’ day of the week.

Anna’s totally impulsive, still not desperate plans go awry once stormy weather sees her flight detoured to Wales. One ferry ride to Ireland later, and one awkward pub exchange later, Anna has hired surly pub owner Declan (Matthew Goode) to drive her to Dublin and they are together bound for more shenanigans and maybe, just maybe, some unexpected romance… because neither of these two have seen a cookie-cutter romantic-comedy before, or otherwise they’d know they were in one.

As written by two-thirds of the think-tank behind the even worse Made of Honor, Leap Year is nothing if not familiar. It clamps up the considerable charms of its lead actress by having her play the prude for a good half of it, and then continuing to have her endure unlikely pratfalls even after she lets her hair down (a change signified, oddly enough, by a series of scenes with her hair put up in a ponytail). Adams and Goode are both amiable and attractive, but the script asks them to play it mean and shrill, and these are two actors who just can’t pull off mean. They shouldn’t have to; leave that to the Vince Vaughns and Reese Witherspoons.

But who needs chemistry when our couple has screenwriting fate on their side. Declan happens to be a great chef, can throw a punch and boasts an Irish brogue (and he doesn’t run off to industry conferences after four years of non-marriage! Probably!). And lucky for them, they land in a bed and breakfast that serves tripe (wink, wink) and only makes room for married couples. If you’re betting on an impromptu and unexpectedly passionate public display of affection, then the odds are looking good, my friend. (And yet – and this could be a honest-to-goodness spoiler, if that's even possible – when Anna’s boyfriend DOES propose at her most conflicted moment, she’s dismayed to find out that it’s a move motivated by their efforts to land an ideal apartment. Faking marriage for the only room and board around = okay. Getting married for the perfect room and board that her professional persona pined for = not cool.)

In between, there’s a cow traffic jam followed by a car wreck, a hail storm, a wedding ceremony interruption followed by a wedding reception interruption and all other manner of hijinks, none of them remotely inspired in execution. Director Anand Tucker has made infinitely more interesting, emotionally complex and visually graceful movies (Shopgirl, When Did You Last See Your Father?), but here, medium shots tend to keep his characters at constant arm’s length, and as the weather matches the mood of the leads, even the local loughs look second-rate at first before the Irish scenery finally gets a chance to shine in the home stretch. Tucker does manage to sneak in some nice moments, like the contrast between Anna’s clicking heels in an airport and them sinking into the sands of a shore, or a steadily nearing shot of Anna and Declan in silhouette as moonlight glimmers off the water behind them… before one then upchucks on the other’s shoes.

Beyond its insistence of rewarding the apathetic viewer with everything they could expect from a rom-com and less, that may be my single biggest problem with Leap Year: even when it has a nice moment, it proceeds to vomit all over it.

But hey, I guess that’s just tradition.

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originally posted: 01/09/10 07:13:59
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User Comments

11/28/10 Cat A waste of both the actors and the director's talents. Poor writing. 1 stars
5/13/10 DK So generic and unmemorable. Even the usually great Amy Adams is pretty poor 1 stars
4/18/10 JeffinMass Romantic with SUPERB CINEMATOGRAPHY 5 stars
1/13/10 JJ Romantic comedy, good location shoots 5 stars
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  08-Jan-2010 (PG)
  DVD: 04-May-2010


  DVD: 04-May-2010

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