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Taking the Leap: A Review of Leap Year

Written by: Tom Hardej, Special to CC2K

ImageMy love of Amy Adams is well-documented around here, and so I was both excited and terrified by the prospect of her new movie Leap Year, where she plays a woman obsessed with getting engaged. What was Katherine Heigl doing that she was too busy to take this role? I think that question sums up how I felt about the movie more than anything else I could write. The only thins that makes the movie not completely ridiculous is Ms. Adams herself and her considerable charm, which has to work overtime here.

In Leap Year, she plays Anna, a real fireball of a woman. She has a blackberry! She has her own business where she sets up fake furniture and things in apartments to make them seem more appealing to potential buyers. (Get it? She sets up pretend lives and but she never really lives her real one!) She and her boyfriend are trying to buy a house of their own, and of course their references are impeccable, Why shouldn’t they get it. Anna has everything she wants, except for one thing. She’s not married! Just when she thinks her boyfriend is going to propose, would you believe that he doesn’t?

So when he takes off on for a business trip in Dublin, she finds out about an old Irish tradition where on February 29th, Leap Day, a woman can actually propose to the man. A woman! Propose to a man! That’s crazy? But maybe it’s just crazy enough to work, so Anna hops on a plane to Ireland just like that to track down her boyfriend and turn him into a fiancé. What she doesn’t count on though is some bad weather that lands her elsewhere.

Does all of this sound contrived yet? If not, then just wait a second more. Naturally she lands and a remote village in Ireland and, naturally there’s an attractive, single man named Declan (played by The Watchmen’s Matthew Goode) there who has to drive her to Dublin. Hilarity ensues, they fall in love, or do they? What about her boyfriend? Why is this movie trying so hard? Didn’t it feel like romantic comedies used to be easier or closer to life at least? Or maybe not. Was Meg Ryan flying to Seattle on a whim to find Tom Hanks any less real or any less obsessive? It was more original at least.

As Anna and Declan ride through the countryside on their way to Dublin with a million obstacles getting in their way, there are moments when it almost makes sense. He’s goofy, but vulnerable, and she’s determined, but not as confident as she seems. They see each other right away and there’s a realness to it somehow. And they’re the couple on the poster, right? You know you’re supposed to root for them. But why couldn’t they figure out a way to fall in love that didn’t involve all the rest of this mess? Matthew Goode is not such a bad actor himself and the two have good chemistry. But neither that, nor even simply the mere sight of my muse, Amy Adams, on screen could save this from the romantic comedy hell from which is was found.