Leap Year
dir Anand Tucker
scr Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont
prd Gary Barber, Chris Bender, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, Jake Weiner
with Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott, John Lithgow, Noel O'Donovan, Tony Rohr, Pat Laffan, Alan Devlin, Ian McElhinney, Dominique McElligott, Mark O'Regan, Maggie McCarthy
release US 8.Jan.10, UK 26.Feb.10
10/US Universal 1h40
Leap Year
It's always sunny in Dublin: Adams and Goode

scott lithgow
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Leap Year Neither funny nor original enough to really register, this breezy little film will only really entertain those who haven't seen very many rom-coms, and therefore can't predict every single scene. Although the cast members just about emerge with their dignity intact.

Anna (Adams) is an energetic professional woman in Boston with the perfect heart-surgeon boyfriend in Jeremy (Scott). Except that he won't propose to her. So when he heads for Dublin to attend a conference, she decides that, since it's a leap year, she'll surprise him there and ask him to marry her, a proposal that tradition says he can't refuse. But the journey goes all wrong, and she ends up on the road with scruffy, cantankerous, gorgeous Irishman Declan (Goode). Gosh, what could possibly happen?

Much of the rather thinly developed humour comes from the slapstick of Anna's journey by plane, train and automobile (plus ferry, bus and foot). And the script contrives to throw Anna and Declan into the most ridiculous situations imaginable, loaded with winking suggestions and silly awkwardness such as having to pose as a married couple and share a bed in a quaint B&B. There's not one scene that we haven't seen before in several other movies.

And yet it's made watchable by the rather endearing performances of Adams and Goode, who thankfully never overplay the wackiness and create characters we almost believe in, even though we never for a second buy anything about the plot. Meanwhile, Ireland looks pretty terrific, captured rather beautifully despite the grey gloom by cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel. Although in this film it's always bright and sunny in Dublin.

Every element of this film is deeply predictable, from the sudden rainshowers to the requisite "life should be an adventure" message. We have the quirky locals, the extremely tame innuendo, even a roll in the mud. Some of the dialog at key moments in the story feels like it came from an early draft of Four Weddings and a Funeral. And most of the nutty characters around the edges feel like they came straight from the stereotype library. But if none of that bothers you, you'll love it.

cert pg themes, language 20.Jan.10

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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall