Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Leap Year


Review by Mark David Campbell

As much as we wish it could be otherwise, your favorite actor, actress or director can’t hit the ball out of the park EVERY time.  There will be films that just don’t measure up to the standard of excellence that you hold them to.  Such is show business, such is life.

I have thoroughly enjoyed much of Amy Adams’ body of work in the last few years:  I simply adored her in films like Charlie Wilson’s War, Enchanted, Sunshine Cleaning and, most recently, in Julie & Julia.  Going in to Leap Year, I had hoped that Adams could elevate what looked like a trite, formulaic romantic comedy into something better.  Not the case, unfortunately.

Most American A-list actresses will, at some point in their careers, be asked to play the leading lady in a romantic comedy.  Nearly all the time, they will either be panned or given marginal raves.  Nearly all the time, they will be seen as below-average given the stars’ capabilities.  Is it because they ARE formulaic, and almost universally predictable?  Yes.  And Leap Year is no exception.

Anna (Adams) is a typical overly-organized woman, who is waiting doggedly for her boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott), an equally overworked cardiologist, to propose to her.  However, when another opportunity goes by with no results, Anna decides to follow Jeremy to Dublin, Ireland, where he is attending a convention, in the hopes of proposing to HIM on Leap Day, February 29th (which apparently is an Irish tradition).

However, fate intervenes when airplane trouble forces her to touch down in the town of Dingle, where she enlists the services of an innkeeper named Declan (Matthew Goode, looking completely different from his role as Ozymandias in Watchmen) to drive her the rest of the way.  He’s desperate for money, so he obliges despite the fact that they are (gasp!) polar opposites.

I just happened to consult my atlas – the journey from Dingle to Dublin is just over 200 miles, a journey that even the pokiest car could make in just a few hours.  However, in Leap Year, the journey lasts forever, and suffers just about every clichéd road-trip pitfall there is, including layovers in picturesque Irish B&B’s, where the equally predictable sparks will inevitably fly between Anna and Declan.

I will say that the film’s location shots were quite lovely, as I’m told to believe Ireland truly is.  Did it make me want to visit there someday?  Yes.  Though let’s hope that my sojourn, if and when it happens, isn’t fraught with such inane and hackneyed plot devices.

2 / 5 stars

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