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Movie Review: Leap Year (2010)

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Romantic comedies are not exactly my cup of tea. Still, when they are done right they can be fantastic. A good romantic comedy can affect you in ways you don't expect; it can get beyond your defenses and draw out an emotional response. It can speak to you in a way that no one else can experience. A romantic comedy can put your own relationships in perspective. They are not real, they do not pretend to be, but they can speak to a larger truth. On the other hand, a good romantic comedy can just be a funny romp, no big truth needed. Unfortunately, when it comes to Leap Year, it does not really succeed at generating the laughs or speaking to any great truth. Still, it does prove to be entertaining enough, if only due to the strength of the leads.

Leap Year follows the formula that has worked so well for the genre for so many years. It doesn't take too long to figure out just how this movie is going to go. Actually, you could probably tell that from the trailer. With that knowledge, we know the movie will not blow us away with plot originality. This one is down to direction and lead performances. Yes, it does work on that level, making the film a moderately worthwhile watch. Just make sure you like the genre to begin with.

Amy Adams is Anna, a straitlaced, overly organized, but sweet young woman in Boston. She has been dating Jeremy (Adam Scott), a cardiologist, for four years. When that fourth year goes by without a proposal, Anna takes things into her own hands. She follows him to Dublin, Ireland, where she is told a woman can ask a man to marry her on Leap Day. She sinks all of her hopes into this tradition. I am willing to go along with that, although it does seem a little silly in this day and age. I guess it falls under the concept of romance where logic has no logical place.

Anna's flight to Dublin lasts long enough to encounter some bad turbulence and be re-routed to the wrong side of the island. Upset but undaunted, Anna attempts to make her way to Dublin by boat, but she only gets as far as the small town of Dingle. It is here that she meets a pub owner named Declan (Matthew Goode), the slightly surly, definitely scruffy, exact opposite of Jeremy. Now the fun can get started.

Their journey across the Emerald Isle ensures that they get into fairly standard situations. You know the drill — argue, laugh about it, have the car get stuck, go someplace romantic where signals can be misinterpreted, end up wet and muddy, be forced to share a room together, almost see the other naked, and… well, you get the picture.

Amy Adams and Matthew Goode (hard to believe he was Ozymandias in Watchmen) work very well together. There is an effortless chemistry between them that allows them to work within the cliche without feeling like they are the cliche. The two allow a certain level of freshness back in. We know where it is going to go. We have to, in a way, forget about the plot and how we know it will play out and stay with them in the moment and watch as the relationship changes between them and how these changes affect them as individuals.

It's actually kind of funny — as I sit here and write this review I find that I have more affection for the film now than I did watching it. I still do not feel it is a great film or even a really good film, but it it is not an insulting film nor is it terribly stupid. It hits all the notes the plot requires and allows the actors to create characters that fit but still feel natural.

Bottom line. No, not a great film and not very memorable. Still, you could do a lot worse. Amy Adams and Matthew Goode work very well on the big screen; their likable personalities and charisma draw you into the tired plot. It is hard not to smile.

Mildly Recommended.

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