Stop Me If You've Heard This One...
Released in 1934, director Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night set the formula that romantic comedies have been following ever since: a mismatched pair has distaste for each other slowly turn into love after they are forced to spend a good deal of time together. The new film Leap Year at times feels like a direct remake of the classic, but unfortunately it cannot match its predecessor’s wit and charm.
Amy Adams plays Anna, a bit of a Boston princess whose only dream is to land a prestigious apartment and marry her rich, doctor boyfriend Jeremy. After Jeremy fails to propose to her as she expected, Anna decides to follow him to Dublin where tradition holds that women can propose to men on the 29th of February every leap year.
Due to foul weather, she finds herself stranded in a small town a good distance from Dublin. She hitches a ride with a local bar owner named Declan who is her polar opposite. The pair argue their way throughout a journey of mishaps that includes broken down vehicles, stolen suitcases and missed trains. Of course, as the journey goes on, Anna slowly begins to realize that she may be on the way to propose to the wrong guy.
There are a few laughs along the way, but for the most part Leap Year is a very unremarkable journey. This is largely because the film follows that standard romantic comedy formula so closely that everything that happens in the movie feels stale and unoriginal. Never does this movie turn in a direction that cannot be seen from miles down the road.
There are also many scenes that seem to be taken straight out of other, better movies, such as Romancing the Stone, or even last year’s The Proposal. I can’t count the number of times two characters pretending to be married, or otherwise romantically involved, are asked by a crowded room to kiss. First there is the awkward kiss, then some more prodding leads to the lengthier kiss which is when the couple inevitably begins to realize they may actually be attracted to one another.
As the two leads, Amy Adams and Matthew Goode are both charming in their own right, but they don’t have any chemistry as a romantic pairing. Even that second kiss when they realize they might like each other felt awkward and unconvincing. There is never any doubt that they are going to end up together due to the nature of the romantic comedy beast, but they never really generate any rooting interest.
By the time the final act came around and the plot began working out its threads, I found myself impatient for the inevitable ending to arrive. Then, after it finally did, there was a superfluous scene that should have just landed on the cutting room floor.
Being a fan of both Adams and Goode, I had high hopes for this movie. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t come together.
Leap Year is rated PG for “sensuality and language.” The language is mild and fairly typical for the genre. The sensuality is also very mild, aided by the fact that the two leads generate no heat.
Courtesy of a local publicist, Jeff attended a promotional screening of Leap Year.