Director: Anand Tucker
Starring: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott, John Lithgow, Noel O’Donovan, Tony Rohr.
Written by: Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont.
Running Time: 100 mins
Original UK Cert: PG
Original UK Release: 26th February 2010
Someone once said to me that I would never truly understand a romantic comedy because I was female (which i think is a severe generalization) and that I wasn’t in love. I don’t think it matters what sex you are or what your emotional mood is for someone to enjoy a good romantic comedies. Yes, there are some very good ones. Ones that work extremely well. Unfortunately most film makers follow a basic formula which they believe works but they forget that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Leap Year is an example of a formulaic rom com that has one or two positives but the rest are pretty negative.
Anna Brady is an American travelling to Dublin in order to take up the tradition of a female proposing to her boyfriend on a Leap Year. Finding herself stranded in a small Irish village, she turns to pub owner, Declan, for help. If he can drive her to Dublin, she will pay handsomely. Declan isn’t keen on the idea but needs the money. It soon becomes apparent that Anna is accident prone and everything she touches goes wrong. So from losing their car to causing a disaster at a wedding, the pair have to put up with each other but something starts to grow between them.
With a plot almost identical to the classic It Happened One Night, Leap Year does have the bonus of having it set in Ireland. Any film maker, no matter how bad they are, cannot make Ireland look bad and the scenery is worth sitting through the rest of this drivel. It looks gorgeous and appealing and magical.
Having said that, it also includes every stereotype of Ireland and Irish culture there is. Everyone drinks Guinness. They all talk in limericks and they are all oh-so-glad to see you. The men, mostly old, sit in pub and recite old wives tales and so-called Irish wisdom, they dance to folk songs and you can even crash a wedding and no one would really care.
It’s perfectly fine if the rest of the film was of any interest but it isn’t. It’s a journey between two people who don’t get along. How many times have seen this? You immediately know what the outcome will be well before the first 30 minutes. So there is not a single reason to really care about their misadventures unless you really care about the people involved.
Thankfully, the other saving grace, is casting Amy Adams and Matthew Goode in the leads. These fine actors can turn even the smelliest turd into a diamond but even here they struggle and it’s not for trying either. The script is not strong enough. It doesn’t have the banter that you got from When Harry Met Sally. It doesn’t have the wit of Roxanne. However, with the Irish backdrop and the charm of Adams and Goode, it is just about bearable.
Adams, as usual, is as cute as a button and she exudes warmth and charm by the gallon. Goode is tall and handsome and has a nice relaxed way about him so the pair are agreeable enough but do we really need to see Adams rolling down a muddy hill for a cheap laugh? No, we don’t. If the writers had good sense, they should have looked at the leads and used their strengths, not dull slapstick and schmaltz.
Leap Year is one of those films that merges in with all the other countless romantic comedies. Nothing original, nothing that stands out, just the same old same old. Maybe I don’t understand the genre because I’m not female but if I were and this was what I was dished up every time, I wouldn’t be happy.
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