“Leap” over this one
By Kristen Page-Kirby
I’m often accused of not liking romantic comedies, which I find unfair. I do like a number of romantic comedies. I love “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “Love Actually.” So the following review of “Leap Year” does not, in fact, reveal any bias I have against the genre.
“Leap Year” is TERRIBLE. TERRIBLE. In fact, you can just go back and reread my review of “New in Town,” and it’s the same review, particulary when I say that the movie is an affront to carbon-based life forms.
Amy Adams (who is, as more proof of my non-bias, is probably my favorite young actress working today. Did you see “Junebug?” You should. It’s awesome. Anyway.) plays Anna, a real estate “stager” — she makes houses look nice so you buy them. After receiving a disappointing present (gentlemen, do not get your longtime girlfriend ANYTHING in a ringesque box UNLESS IT’S A RING) from her boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott, who has the awesome credit of “Defiant Helm Crewman” in “Star Trek: First Contact”), decides to meet him in Ireland and propose on Leap Day, as is Irish tradition. We know it’s true, because Anna tells us this again and again. Unfortunately, her plane gets grounded in Cardiff, Wales, where she is immediately sucked into a Time Vortex and has to TARDIS her way to her goal.
Okay, kidding. I just wanted to see if anyone else out there watches “Doctor Who.” What actually happens is she gets to Ireland, then meets Declan (Matthew Goode), who is Irish and scruffy and kind of mean, but agrees to drive her to Dublin. Which, of course, takes longer than planned and will she make it to propose and does she want to anymore and come on, people. You know how this movie ends.
Romantic comedies always rely somewhat on impossibilities. Shakespeare knew it, Austen knew it, Nora Ephron knows it. There needs to be a stretch somewhere, because “normal people go on dates, then like each other, then love each other, then decide to get married” isn’t great entertainment. But “Leap Year” brings its stretches in too fast and then pushes them too far—no woman wears 6-inch stilettos to start a car trip; Anna is only wearing them so she can step in cow poop later. Carrots are not in season in February in Ireland; Anna and Declan are only picking carrots to prove that Anna is a control freak and Declan is not. The “funny” situations don’t exist in any universe known to human beings; they exist only to be funny. Therefore, most of the time, they are desperately unfunny.
There is very little objectionable material, unless you count the entire script. There’s no cursing of note; Anna appears once in bra and panties and once, in silhouette, through a shower curtain. Declan and Anna share a bed, though nothing happens, and some steamy smooches. There’s drinking (in Ireland! I know, you’re shocked), sometimes to excess. There’s some steamy smooching.
The world needs good romantic comedies, but in the case of “Leap Year,” the world is going to have to keep looking.
Previews at a January 8 screening included “Despicable Me,” “When in Rome,” and “Babies.”
Kristen Page-Kirby is the editor of Chesapeake Family Magazine. She last reviewed “The Princess and the Frog.”