"Leap Year" is not at all a leap of faith

Jan. 12, 2010, 12:05 p.m. | By Laura Anthony | 10 years, 8 months ago

Stereotypical chick-flick suited for Netflix

Whereas a true Leap Year only comes around once every four years, "Leap Year" is no different from typical, romantic comedy films released year after year. With only slightly varied characters and plot, "Leap Year" is a guilty pleasure movie rather than a cinematic work of art.

Unfortunately, the overall plot progression of "Leap Year" is quite obvious and too plain to offer any tender, memorable romanticism. Anna (Amy Adams) is a control freak, high-heel-wearing apartment stager (she furnishes and decorates apartments for open houses). Disappointed that her cardiologist boyfriend, Jeremy (Adam Scott) still has not proposed to her after four years of dating, she decides to participate in the old Irish tradition of proposing, Sadie-Hawkins style, on Feb. 29 of a Leap Year. When Jeremy goes to Dublin on business, she follows him, but her plane can't land in Dublin because of a storm. She wanders into a pub to find a different form of transportation, where she meets a snappy, sarcastic bartender, Declan (Matthew Goode), who becomes her guide and chauffeur to Dublin.

Although at first only agreeing to earn money to pay off the debt on his pub, Declan learns to function alongside Anna's structured, orderly outlook on life. She grows to tolerate him and see past his cynical exterior. The ensuing relationship between Declan and Anna is reminiscent of new couples in staple, regular romantic comedy. Her uptight personality clashes with his laidback attitude. The clichéd dialogue and lackluster script is fairly predictable. When Anna comments, "You know, I don't think there's anything wrong with being precise," and he responds with, "Have a little faith. It'll all work out."

But therein lays one of the most dramatic flaws in the writing. While it is not hard to see why Adams's character falls for Goode's (the adorably scruffy male lead with an Irish accent), the writing provides little justification for Declan to reciprocate her feelings. Her mannerisms that are meant to be endearing translate as irritating. She constantly worries about her Louie Vuitton suitcase and needlessly argues over trivial things like whether her carrots will meet a recipe's exact specifications. This significant hole in the plot makes the story even less convincing.

Not only did the plot lack in cohesiveness, it was deficient in originality. Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, who also collaborated in "Made of Honor," did nothing more than re-write commonplace chick-flicks. Anna and Declan pretend to be married and bicker over the sleeping arrangements. The movie featured a dance scene where she learns to "let her hair down" and a cooking montage where she learns to cook and they learn to have fun together. Towards the end of the film is an overdose of cheesy references to earlier moments between Anna and Declan to reiterate the love trance of Anna. The script was safe; it was not as bad as it could have been, but there was nothing new to the story.

Indeed, there were also elements that just didn't fit the traditional "chick–flick" mold. The film evoked moments of slapstick comedy, intended to entertain the male minority. During the dance scene, as Anna is spinning around, her shoe flies off and smacks someone in the face. Obviously trying to earn its title as a romantic comedy, such moments merely pulled the film down in credibility.

While there were many parts of the movie that did not work, there were a few moments to appease a true lover of the romantic genre. Declan is amusing to watch fall in love, and there were a few sweet moments between him and Anna, that tended to demonstrate real affection. As part of their married couple disguise at the inn, they are forced to share a bed and are both conflicted over whether to sleep or turn over and let something happen between them.

"Leap Year" was an unlucky sort of film and managed to create no sparks in the romantic comedy genre other than the Irish accents inherent to most characters. Although the film could have been adorably entertaining, it fell short, instead becoming lifelessly clichéd.

"Leap Year" (97 minutes) is rated PG sensuality and language. Now playing in theaters everywhere.

Tags: Review

Laura Anthony. More »

Show comments


No comments.

Please ensure that all comments are mature and responsible; they will go through moderation.