Capone wishes LEAP YEAR somehow involved jumping off a cliff!!!
Published at: Jan. 8, 2010, 9:23 a.m. CST by Capone
Hey, everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
The only thing more frustrating than a shitty romantic comedy is one that actually features actors that I genuinely like in just about everything else they do. Which immediately begs the questions, what the hell are Amy Adams (JUNEBUG, SUNSHINE CLEANING, JULIE & JULIA, ENCHANTED, MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY, CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR, DOUBT) and Matthew Goode (THE LOOKOUT, WATCHMEN, BRIDESHEAD REVISTED, A SINGLE MAN) doing in this dumpy, ill-paced, hemorrhoid of a movie called LEAP YEAR? If your only ambition for your child's life is to write crap rom-coms, take them to this paint-by-numbers example of one. Is our heroine's entire life summed up in a nice little speech at some point in the first 10 minutes of the movies? You bet. Anna is an apartment stager, who arranges hard-to-sell condos and homes for real estate agents' open houses. She's the best at what she does because she's very organized and segmented in both her work and her life. Her longtime boyfriend is Jeremy, a doctor whose greatest eccentricity is receiving surgery photos on his cell phone while he and Anna eat dinner. Yum.
Anna thinks she and Jeremy have been dating long enough to get married, and when the moment looks as though it is approaching, he gives her diamond earrings instead of a ring. We learn in the single scene featuring her father (John Lithgow, literally brought in for one scene to provide exposition and then never heard from again) that it is a family tradition that the women can ask their husbands to marry them only on Feb. 29 of a leap year...thus the title... LEAP YEAR...never mind. It just so happens that the birthplace of this legend is Ireland, which is where Jeremy is going to a "medical conference" in Dublin. So Anna decides to surprise him and pop the question.
Naturally, her travels are waylaid and she ends up far away from Dublin and must hire a driver (Goode) to take her to Dublin. In a surprise twist of events that I'll admit I didn't see coming, their car is blown up by a long-dormant roadside bomb left over from "the troubles" and the movie ends with their bloodied body parts mixed in with the wreckage of the car. Oh, no wait. That was the movie that I came up with in my head as I endured what has the be scene-for-scene the single most predictable movie ever made. Contrivance after contrivance practically fall over each other lining up to be the next obvious obstacle or romantic moment between Adams and Goode. Adams wears the wrong shoes for all the walking she must do, they get rained on, she gets muddy, they are forced to share a room, he's a great cook, she's pretty, he wears bulky cozy sweaters, the list goes on and on and on. In fact, if you've seen the trailer for LEAP YEAR, the only part of the film that will be any surprise to you is the last 10 minutes or so, and even that doesn't require a great imagination to figure out where things end up.
The fact that this film was made by two strong actors who actually rise above this pedestrian material makes it all the more frustrating. And in the hands of a capable director like Anand Tucker (HILARY AND JACKIE, SHOPGIRL, and one of the three films in the upcoming RED RIDING trilogy), the film certainly looks presentable and as green and stony as the Irish countryside is known to be on occasion. But dressing this pig up like the Queen of England doesn't make it smell any better. And yes there is a moment of great public embarrassment for both of our heroes, just like every other goddamn romantic comedy every fucking made. Watching LEAP YEAR kinda-sorta reminded me of seeing the dead husks of two people I used to really like do something really awful with the last minute of their lives (sorry, that metaphor got lost in a sea of my rage). Please don't encourage this kind of behavior in actors who can actually act and excel at creating interesting characters most days of the week. LEAP YEAR is junk, and if you go and see it you'll shorten your life span by about 95 minutes; you'll actually feel the lifeforce exiting your body. Just don't.
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