Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Anand Tucker
Stars: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott, John Lithgow.
Sneaking into cinemas without any publicity or media previews is the romantic comedy Leap Year. This is yet another formulaic and cliched romantic comedy that covers all the usual tropes of the odd couple pairing, opposites attract, road movie genre.
It stars Amy Adams, who is usually very good in whatever she does. Adams plays Anna, a highly-strung and superficial apartment setter from Boston (she dresses up apartments to make them more attractive for potential buyers). She has been dating Jeremy (Adam Scott), a handsome cardiologist for four years. So far he has been unable to make a permanent commitment in their relationship. Disappointed that he doesn’t propose marriage during a romantic dinner to celebrate their fourth anniversary, Anna begins to question the relationship. Jeremy leaves for Dublin to attend an important medical convention.
But taking the words of her father (John Lithgow, wasted in a small cameo) she decides to take matters into her own hands. An old Irish tradition has it that a woman can propose to her man on February 29th in a leap year. Anna packs her bags and heads off to Dublin to surprise Jeremy. But a storm causes her plane to divert to Wales, and a series of mishaps sees her stranded in a remote village on Ireland’s West Coast.
She manages to convince handsome, laid back publican Declan (Matthew Goode, recently seen in Watchmen, A Single Man, etc) to drive her to Dublin. The pair loathe each other at first sight, but during their long journey their prickly, mutual animosity begins to melt. The rest is fairly predictable as the stylish Anna is put through a wringer and humbled and Declan’s standoffish manner softens.
The script has been written by Deborah Kaplan and her regular partner Harry Elfont, who specialise in these sorts of lightweight romantic comedies (Made Of Honour, etc), and seems to recall those romantic comedies of the ‘50’s and ‘60’s that would star Doris Day. Leap Year is not the first film in which an uptight American is seduced by the lyrical charms, magical romance, and natural beauty of Ireland – we have already seen this formula in films like PS I Love You and The Matchmaker, etc. It won’t be the last either, given that the formula still works well.
Adams is a willing soul who puts herself through a succession of pratfalls and physical moments to earn a few laughs. Goode is pleasant enough in a rather conventional role. The leads are genial enough and there is some genuine chemistry between Goode and Adams, which adds to the film’s charm.
This is a fairly frivolous choice for director Anand Tucker, who is better known for his dramas like And When Did You Last See Your Father? and Hilary And Jackie. He directs in an unhurried manner. Leap Year proves to be a mildly entertaining comedy, easy on the eye and with some gentle laughs along the way.