MOVIE REVIEW ★★ ½ / 4 ‘Leap Year’ Is Cute But Falls Short
Your Typical Romantic Comedy with a Rakish Male Lead
Directed by Anand Tucker
Starring Amy Adams, Matthew Goode
Meet Anna. A cute girlish face with a no nonsense aura, her vivacious nature manifests only in her shock of auburn hair. The diminutive redhead seems to have it all — a doctor boyfriend, a wonderful job, gorgeous wardrobe, and on top of it she’s in queue for the apartment of her dreams. The only catch is that her cardiologist-of-a boyfriend, Jeremy, has not proposed despite their four year-long relationship. When Jeremy goes to Dublin for a medical conference, Anna decides to take matters into her own hands. She jumps on a plane and devises a scheme to propose to Jeremy on February 29th — spurred by an Irish tradition allowing women to propose to their lover on Leap Day.
Now, as all romantic comedies will have it, this movie is not about Anna and Jeremy. No, instead, Anna ensnares an Irish innkeeper as her driver to Dublin and embarks upon her tumultuous and eventful journey. Her companion, Declan, is not like Jeremy at all. In fact, he is quite the surly Irishman who does not find it amusing in the least to be dragged around Ireland by a crazy American redhead but only agrees because he is beleaguered by loan sharks.
This is your typical romance comedy. It is fluffy, light-hearted, and barely salvaged from being like the rest because the lead male is such a churlish character and the cinematographer a genius. Declan, played by Matthew Goode, is first introduced in a thousand ways disgusting. He hocks spit, he’s sullen, short-tempered, and most of all, he is a complete cynic of love. This does not bode well with Anna as Declan downright trods on the purpose of her journey — “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” Furthermore, he dares to insult her Louis Vuitton luggage — “How is it romantic for him [Jeremy] to buy you a suitcase?” Of course, being that this disagreeable Irishman is ruggedly attractive and armed with a thick European accent, Anna predictably ends up falling for him.
The film doesn’t promise to be what it’s not. The trailer delivers pretty much everything there is in the film — what the audience expects and nothing more. A major factor is probably poor screenplay. The best moments are those that involve no dialogue — Declan’s wry smirks at Anna’s antics or Anna’s frustrated tantrums and wide-eyed disbelief. Declan’s personification of Anna’s suitcase as “oh Louis” is also endearing. The worst moments are the pockets of seriousness. In the instance when tipsy Anna tries to analyze Declan’s character, she pronounces him to be “a beast — a beast with … a big thorn in your … beastly paw.” Eloquence is not exactly the characters’ forte.
Another aspect that bothered me was the whole concept of women only being allowed to propose on leap year. Why is it that Anna could not have simply asked Jeremy about marriage? The social stigma that men always have to “seal the deal” seems both antiquated and silly. Then again, this superstition made it possible for a hotheaded young woman to teeter-totter around Ireland in $600 heels. Leap Year is cute without being overly sappy. Goode’s rugged charm and the lovely sceneries of Ireland keep the audience sated enough to prevent them from complaining too much.