Leap Year (2010)
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Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott, John Lithgow, Noel O'Donovan, Tony Rohr, Pat Laffan, Alan Devlin, Ian McElhinney, Kaitlin Olson, Liza Ross, Michael J. Reynolds, Mark O'Regan, Maggie McCarthy, Marcia Warren, Catherine Walker, MacDara O'Fatharta
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Leap of Logic
Favorite Movie Quote: "You've got a big thorn in your beasty paw."
What to do, what to do?
Like so many romantic comedies that have come before, Leap Year gives us one concept about which the entire narrative is assembled, and crosses its fingers that its female star can put enough butts in the buckets to make it profitable. This can and has worked in the past with Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, and others in a plethora of films which is why Hollywood keeps doing it. However, most successes include a bankable male lead, at least a good script, and didn't have an Avatar gobbling every film released.
Anna Brady (Amy Adams) is in one of those ridiculously technical relationships with Jeremy (Adam Scott) that will end up as either an at best loveless marriage or divorce; the bank would certainly recommend him as a husband but I'm a t*t and even I know that you don't take your four-year girlfriend to a romantic dinner with the promise of a surprise and hand her a ring-sized jeweler's box without an engagement ring in it unless you want to be a homicide statistic (and no jury would convict her). Anna's solution to this incongruent piece to the puzzle that is her life (some of her first lines of dialog in the film are, "I'm in complete control.") is to trail her stale male to Dublin, Ireland, there on business. Once there, Anna intends to take advantage of an old Irish folk tradition that 'allows' (?) women to propose marriage on February 29th, leap day.
Of course, flying straight to Dublin would be far too simple and would deny us the green landscapes of the Irish countryside. One of my film school teachers was unimpressed with the cinematography of Lawrence of Arabia, stating that any idiot could've pointed a camera over that terrain and gotten beautiful shots and the same seems likely here. Anna would also have been denied her designated Soulmate Who Will Make Her See What's Really Important, Irish rogue Declan (Matthew Goode), and the road trip - you know, the three days it takes to fall in love so deeply that you throw away your entire life, career, move to another country, and get married to a man who's middle name you don't know. I don't really consider that a spoiler because it's about as much a surprise as the quarterback of the football team getting laid on prom night.
Leap Year is possessed of some positives, but they're primarily the static details - the charm of Ireland, Amy Adams, and Matthew Goode - that could've appeared in any number of better scripts or a much improved version of Leap Year. There are flashes of good dialog and humor and, like most charismatic actors, Adams and Goode do their damnedest to step over the crap rather than step in it, at times literally failing.
The list of negatives is probably smaller in number but more massive in size. The central concept of the movie is problematic for me in that our main character, Anna, repeatedly indicates through both word and deed that she's not superstitious, there's no indication that she's religious, and she seems proud of having her own career, control of her own life. Why would this woman be bound to a mideval social parameter that restricts her from proposing to her four-year boyfriend? This is 2010. Women can propose to men, vote, own land, all sorts of sh*t...
Anna also reveals the core of her character, that her father was a dreamer, a get-rich-quick type who trusted in chance which led to her house being "repossessed" on Christmas Eve and her working two jobs after school; she grew up poor, yet in the beginning of the movie she acts very much like an entitled rich girl, in no way resourceful (beyond constantly throwing money at the problem) or understanding of the reality of her situation. This is called a CONTRADICTION.
My other issues are far less severe - I already mentioned the silliness of leaving everything for someone you've known for three days - but some of the dialog is almost from another movie. For instance, at the end, Anna says to Declan, "In all my life I never thought I'd see you down on one knee." Qua? You mean in those whole three days you were together? Or adding the time in New York I guess that makes, what, three weeks?
Longer than Leap Year was in the theaters, I guess. Too soon? Maybe I should go to Ireland and wait for a leap day...
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