Leap Year (Universal Pictures, PG)

film_leap-year_sm.gifThe problem with movies like this is that if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the whole film.



Most people would say that traditions usually help keep people’s lives in order. Anna’s (Amy Adams) relentless pursuit to fulfill an ancient tradition, though, turns her tidy life upside down.

When Jeremy (Adam Scott), Anna’s boyfriend of four years, neglects to propose to her before leaving for a medical conference in Dublin, she decides that taking on an Irish tradition is the key to future happiness. She heads off to Dublin herself to surprise Jeremy with her own marriage proposal on Leap Day, February 29. But, when her travel plans go up in smoke, she lands on barkeep Declan’s (Matthew Goode) doorstep and her neat little world becomes quite an adventure.

The problem with movies like this is that if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the whole film, and you know what’s going to happen. If you’ve watched even a couple of these polar-opposites-meet-cute romantic comedies, you also know when everything will happen. That’s not the worst sin a film can commit, but when every situation that leads to a tried-and-true rom-com moment is devoid of charm or originality, it makes the movie especially painful.

Don’t get me wrong; I can see where the charm was supposed to be. It was in the gorgeous Irish countryside, the quaint little towns with their quirky residents, and the odd situations Anna and Declan find themselves in. The script, however, is so pedestrian that the things that should make me fall in love with the film just feel like manipulation.

One of the unfortunate results of the screenplay’s lack of spark is the character of Anna. She’s nice, but clearly a Type A tight-ass from the start. The reasons for her being this way are understandable, but it takes away some crucial characteristics for most of the film: hope and innocence.

Anna doesn’t want anything new or different in her life that she hasn’t planned. The character feels closed off to us and is, thereby, a bit unrelatable. She’s also seen just enough hard times to lose the light behind her eyes. It’s that subtle flash that says, "Maybe this is just what I needed" when things don’t go as planned. This is particularly problematic for an actor like Adams, whose previous roles almost depended on her ability to imbue those characters with an almost childlike belief in what could be.

Lucky for us, Declan is a bit freer spirit, and Goode does a nice job of making him a practical, go-with-the-flow voice of reason for Anna. Once of the really nice things about Goode’s performance is that, even though we know exactly how he’s been hurt in the past, we can’t wait to watch him spell it out for us. | Adrienne Jones


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