Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - January 15, 2010

Movie Review

Leap Year

By Renata Polt

Half star

Rated PG for sensuality and language

1 hour, 37 minutes

Why do people make movies like "Leap Year," a romantic comedy so vapid and predictable that a viewer could write the script blindfolded? One of those they-appear-to-hate-each-other-but-really-love-each-other stories that were popular in the '30s -- think "It Happened One Night" -- without the wit and the charm. This film is neither romantic nor comic, and the central character is so annoying you want to slap her.

Amy Adams of "Julie and Julia," all flirty smirks and tossed hair, plays Anna, a Boston stager -- she furnishes apartments and houses to make them more saleable -- who's been in a relationship with Jeremy (Adam Scott) for four years. But, though they're about to buy a condo together, he has yet to pop the question. Jeremy, a cardiologist so dull he barely seems to have a pulse, is about to leave for Dublin to attend a convention.

Anna learns that, according to an old Irish tradition, a girl who proposes to her beau on leap year day can't be refused, so she packs her Louis Vuitton bag and she's off. Because of a storm, Anna finds herself far from Dublin at a country inn/pub run by Declan (Matthew Goode of "A Single Man"). A laid-back guy with little patience for Anna's spoiled-brat antics, Declan nonetheless agrees to drive her to Dublin for 500 Euros. Of course things don't go smoothly, especially after Anna causes Declan's car to run into a ditch.

In this film's favor are the dramatic landscapes of western Ireland and a nice feel for Irish music. But that's hardly enough for a film marred by mistakes in continuity (Anna is wearing a white blouse in one scene, and in the next, set a few minutes later, she's wearing a brown one; she falls down and gets mud all over her trench coat, but, immediately after, it's spotless) and implausible meteorological settings (it's February in Ireland, and there's an outdoor wedding).

It's hard to understand how such a shoddy piece of filmmaking could be the work of director Anand Tucker, whose "Shopgirl" and "Hilary and Jackie" were outstanding. On the other hand, the writers of last year's dopey "Made of Honor" are responsible for the screenplay.

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