Anand Tucker, director of And When Did You Last See Your Father? in case anyone was interested, directs Leap Year, a “romantic comedy” film. Rom-coms already conjure up memories of some pretty awful films, and can pretty much die on their arse before the mid-way point unless the two leads can hold a film. In Leap Year, Amy Adams and Matthew Goode are the two leads in question. The plot sees Anna (Amy Adams) travel to Ireland to propose to her boring-ass boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott). However upon reaching her destination circumstance forces her to share a considerable portion of her time and energy on miserable Irish innkeeper Declan (Matthew Goode). All Anna has to do is survive a long car ride with Declan and reach Dublin, simple. Though life is never so simple is it?
Anna is a perfect New York middle class woman, with a well-paid job doing sod all to justify the money she is making, who wants to settle down and marry Jeremy. Jeremy is an accountant, or a tax attorney, or some sort of crap. Whatever, it isn’t important. He is some highly paid douchebag whose greatest accomplishment in life is not doing anything worth mentioning. He goes to Dublin, Ireland on some sort of business trip and Anna decides to follow him in order to propose on some fabled Irish leap year wifey-proposes-type tradition. Unfortunately for her the trip doesn’t go too well and she faces a long road trip to Dublin from Cork, and recruits surly ol’ Declan to take her to her destination. Declan and Anna have boring adventures together and fall in love (I don’t think that can be considered a spoiler bearing in mind the poster). What happens next I wonder?
The ‘romance’ section of the film did not keep up its end of the bargain – there is no romance in the film. It is the kind of story which the two characters would be boring their grandkids with in years to come. The plot works fine as a narrative in the real world as an amusing and romantic anecdote – I’m sure it is more worthy of reciting than the usual story of ‘we were both pissed at a nightclub, we went home for sex and the next thing we know she missed her period – marriage seemed the obvious thing to do’. However it is still not enough for immortalization on the silver screen for crying out loud; this isn’t Casablanca or Gone with the Wind. The chemistry between Adams and Goode is barely noticeable, yet has no opportunity to show itself through this unimaginative bore of a script. The most romantic bit in the picture is where they are forced to embrace each other for the viewing pleasure of an elderly Irish nutjob. Hot enough for ya?
On the comedy end there are a few titter worthy moments, but not any more than what you would expect in your average dark drama. A lot of the gags fall flat and leave you thinking ‘wow, are they even trying to make me laugh here?’ Falling over in the mud, car accidents and sarcastic comments all round! It is all standard fare, lacking imagination, it is all small stuff. That said there were one or two running gags that I liked and several moments did raise a smile.
This is sub-standard stuff, highly formulaic and the script suffocates the film leaving the actors little room to breathe. Also worth a mention is the fact that it portrays Ireland as some kind of backward hovel full of quaint old farmers, drunks and suitcase thieves. Hollywood still maintains the view that the country is in some kind of time warp where it is 1642 all over again and the English haven’t bothered to invade yet. It is a poor attempt of a film and should be left alone even on February 29th.