Andy Bockelman: ‘Leap Year’ best enjoyed only once every 4 years
January 27, 2010
Length: 100 minutes
Starring: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott and John Lithgow.
If you throw a dart at a calendar page, you'd be sure to find a holiday of some sort, whether it's a money-maker for Hallmark or a completely obscure celebration.
Apparently, this method of picking a subject was a strategy used in the creation of "Leap Year."
Anna (Amy Adams) is a highly motivated woman who's got her life all planned out for her. And the next step after moving up in her career and obtaining her dream apartment is getting engaged to her perfect boyfriend, Jeremy (Adam Scott).
But as she prepares to accept a diamond ring toward the tail end of February, he leaves her hanging when he jets off to Dublin for a business trip.
Crestfallen, Anna decides to hop on a flight to Ireland to surprise Jeremy on Feb. 29 with her own proposal, following the tradition of women popping the question on Leap Day.
But a barrage of bad weather and bad luck leaves her stuck in a small village miles away from Dublin.
Enlisting the motor skills of a churlish innkeeper (Matthew Goode) who doubles as a cab driver, she makes her way toward the city, all the while beset by endless transportation disasters and the presence of a man who's drastically different than her sweetie.
Adams does her best in a role that's none too easy to like, as Anna becomes more and more annoying, going from a nitpicky know-it-all to an outright snob. But such is the raison d'être for the headstrong female of any romantic comedy, as she finds love with an unlikely candidate.
Goode is much more easygoing as her scruffy temporary chauffeur Declan, who finds his employer's protectiveness of her Louis Vuitton suitcase to be almost as ridiculous as her quest to propose to her boyfriend.
Yes, like every other guy in this scenario, he's been scorned by love.
How will this jaded young man ever work through his feelings?
That's up to the audience to ponder, and while doing that, they can work out just why John Lithgow shows up for all of two minutes as Anna's rapscallion father.
Well, somebody had to give her the idea to go to Ireland.
The scenery of the Emerald Isle is fondly showcased in this flimsy love story, the core of which works mainly because it's so unusual. Not in its storyline, of course, but in its locale, quietude and color scheme, which includes more muddy brown and mossy green than you'd ever expect to see in a chick flick.
Unfortunately, the earthy, rustic surroundings also wind up dragging the whole movie's pace from a lively sprint to a bout of sleepwalking. And as a result, what could work as a carefree romp for American viewers through another country becomes a slow, painful plod across the countryside.
Overall, "Leap Year" is a gratifying enough feature for its intended viewership, even if it does go strictly by the book. And it's not too bad for the rest of the populace, either.
Although if you were on the fence after seeing it for the first time, it would probably be in your best interest to wait until the next Leap Year to watch it again.