Leap Year (2010)
“Anna planned to propose to her boyfriend on February 29th. This is not her boyfriend.”
Leap Year (2010)
Director: Anand Tucker
Cast: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott
Synopsis: Anna Brady plans to travel to Dublin, Ireland to propose marriage to her boyfriend Jeremy on Leap Day, because, according to Irish tradition, a man who receives a marriage proposal on a leap day must accept it.
Anna Brady (Amy Adams – American Hustle, Big Eyes) works as an apartment stager, which, to those who don’t know, is as close a woman can come to being a homemaker without actually having a husband and kids. Could this possibly be a big fat clue to what she believes is missing from her life? Oh, you bet. Anna wants to be married to long-time cardiologist boyfriend, Jeremy (Indie favourite Adam Scott – A.C.O.D., The Overnight), but he seems happy with things the way they are, and either ignores or misses the subtle hints she drops about getting wed. So, when she learns that Jeremy will be attending a conference in Dublin, where tradition allows women to propose to their boyfriends every February 29th, she hops straight onto a plane so that she can give him the surprise of his life. After all, what could go wrong?
Well, shame on you for asking. Everything goes wrong, that’s what. Bad weather sees her flight diverted to Wales, from where she has to charter a tiny fishing boat to sail her to Ireland, and she ends up near Dingle, a tiny, remote coastal village straight out of a 1950s Ealing movie. The locals are all stereotypical old men who wear flat caps, spend all day in the pub, and argue over local superstitions. Apart from handsome young Declan (Matthew Goode – The Imitation Game), that is, who, despite taking an instant dislike to Anna which is wholeheartedly reciprocated, is so strapped for cash that he agrees to drive her all the way to Dublin. And at this point, I’m sure you’ll agree, any further synopsis would be pointless as you all know exactly how Leap Year is going to end.
Leap Year’s biggest problem – and it has many – is that, although Anna is a modern woman, her departure point for the journey to Ireland seems to have been somewhere in 1954. There’s no romantic motive behind her decision to fly to Ireland, just the desperate manoeuvring of a woman with low self-esteem who mistakenly believes her life is incomplete without a man. The best screenwriters have a talent for dressing up their characters in ways that blind us to any personal inadequacies they might reveal through the decisions they make, but Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont simply leave us wondering how a woman who seems so modern and feisty in most respects can subscribe to such archaic notions about what it means to be in a relationship.
While it might raise a smile or two amongst the less demanding of its audience, Leap Year fails to generate the warm and fuzzy feeling for which it is so blatantly aiming. Adams and Goode, both decent actors, struggle to create any sexual chemistry, the situations in which they find themselves are cliched and predictable, and the humour is so gentle it’s barely noticeable. So you won’t laugh, you won’t cry, and you won’t fall in love. Some nice scenery, though…
(Reviewed 9th January 2016)