**1/2 (out of 5)
January 8, 2010
Amy Adams as ANNA
Matthew Goode as DECLAN
Adam Scott as JEREMY
John Lithgow as JACK
Directed by: Anand Tucker
BY KEVIN CARR
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Being able to see movies before they open affords me a unique opportunity to experience a film without knowing much about it. When I stepped into the theater to see “Leap Year,” the only thing I knew was that it was a romantic comedy starring Amy Adams. Being a rare critic who enjoys romantic comedies and who thinks Amy Adams is adorable, I was hoping for something good.
As the film unfolded, I kept getting the feeling that I had seen elements of this movie before, most notably in the 2008 counter-programming hit “Made of Honor”… which I hated. After seeing the film, I looked up the writer, I discovered that her credits included the screenplay to “Made of Honor.”
I knew there was something I didn’t like about the movie.
The story follows a sophisticated Manhattanite named Anna (Adams) who has been dating her boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott) for four years. She’s dying to get engaged, but he seems aloof about the whole thing. When Jeremy travels to Dublin, Ireland on business, Anna decides to cash in on an old Irish tradition that a woman can propose to a man. However, forces of nature keep her from getting to the right place on the Emerald Isle, and she ends up in a small town. There, she finds a pub owner named Declan (Matthew Goode) who agrees to escort her to Dublin, and along they way Anna starts to question her relationship with Jeremy.
One thing I am getting annoyed with in light comedies and rom coms is the fish-out-of-water Manhattanite who doesn’t seem to understand the ways of the world. We saw this to excess in “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” in which the characters didn’t seem to understand that you don’t need and evening gown on the farm and that you can buy a sweater for less than $10.
The character of Anna falls into the same silliness, naively getting her luggage stole by some smarmy types on a back-country Irish road and only packing one pair of $600 shoes for her trip. In other films, as it does in this one, it plays as false and forced.
The only saving grace of this film are the performances of Adams and Matthew Goode, both of whom are better actors than the material they are given. They do their best to raise the dialogue and character interaction to a higher level, but let’s not forget the old adage about silk purses and sows ears. At least the director shares with us his fascination with Amy Adam’s shapely gams, which are featured in this film almost as much as the Irish countryside.
Anyone who loves the look of Ireland will appreciate the cinematography, at least in the moments that don’t present it as a jarring green-screen CGI effect. The look of the film is beautiful, and there’s at least a degree of chemistry between its stars.
If only the script could have been better.
For the run-of-the-mill romantic comedy, it works. Sure, it’s predictable and cheeky, but you can expect that formulaic style from the genre. Bottom line is that my wife will probably like it, but I doubt it’s going to become her favorite film.