Universal // 2009 // 101 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 4th, 2010
I'd like to take a leap.
Amy Adams (Enchanted) stars in a romantic comedy about fake people in Ireland.
It's tough being Anna Brady (Adams). She's dating an attractive cardiologist who buys her expensive jewelry and seems to genuinely love her. But, unfortunately, he hasn't proposed marriage, and it's tearing her apart. When he travels to Dublin on business, Anna decides to fly there and propose to him on Leap Day. This woman-popping-the-question-to-the-man business is apparently an Irish Leap Year tradition, so Anna is hoping her boyfriend -- who obviously isn't ready to get married -- will enter into wedded bliss because of an archaic custom. Stupid idea.
Before she arrives at her destination, the plane is diverted and she's dropped off in a jerkwater hamlet, where she meets a cynical bar owner named Declan (Matthew Goode, Watchmen), who agrees to drive her to Dublin. I wonder what's going to happen next?
Ha, that last line is what we in the writing business call "sarcasm." You see, because there is never any doubt as to what will happen next. Actually, the trailer for Leap Year gives you enough plot to surmise how this thing plays out, and guess what: you'll be right!
Sure, I went into this review fully prepared for a disappointing performance, but that's not particularly bad; my expectations were so low that anything above mediocre would qualify it as a success. Alas, even with a cellar-dwelling expectation level, Amy Adams and company couldn't clear it. Leap Year manages to crater on all standards that a passable romantic comedy should be judged.
Start with the most important: the lovebirds. Neither Anna nor Declan are likeable, which is kind of a non-starter for a big-screen romance. She's an idiot and he's an a-hole. Throughout their time together, she does stupid things no normal person would do, like shower in front of a strange guy, single-handedly try to get her belongings back from three thugs, and stand up in the middle of a crowded pub and confess something very personal. Declan has the personality of a sea cucumber, mumbles insults under his breath, laughs at Anna's travails, and rudely walks away from her after she stands in the middle of a crowded pub to confess something very personal.
Both of these wet noodles occupy a script that's focused more on erecting romantic set-pieces than letting believable characters develop. That big, dramatic moment in the pub only exists to get Anna to a picturesque cliff in front of a setting sun for Something Really Romantic to happen. Other contrived pit-stops on their cross-country adventure include a wedding crash (who barrels into the middle of an obviously crowded church sanctuary?), which allows Anna a chance to see what True Love really is; a stay with a conservative Irish couple who insist Anna and Declan be married for some reason, so they of course pretend (with high-larious results!); and an extended layover at a castle, giving Declan ample opportunity to further criticize Anna -- but there's an awesome view at the top of the castle and, as we all know, it doesn't matter how big a dick a guy is, if there's a vista to be seen, love is inevitable.
Which is a good word to describe Leap Year: inevitable. The ending is inevitable. The clichés are inevitable. And considering my gut reaction to the trailer, I suppose the fact that the film is a predictable, unfunny, charm-free slog through the wastelands of emaciated romcom conventions is inevitable, too.
The one element I enjoyed was the Irish landscapes, and Universal's Blu-ray does them justice. The 2.40:1 1080p VC-1 encoded transfer is very, very good, pushing out the richness of the European milieu with vigor. The detailing is top notch and the color levels sparkle. As shallow a storytelling experience Leap Year might be, it's easy on the eyes, and high-definition is the only way to drink it in. Audio comes from a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track, which doesn't have much to do aside from pump out a syrupy score and awful dialogue. Besides disposable BD-Live gimmicks (socialBLU and Pocket Blu), only John Lithgow-heavy deleted scenes serve as the bonuses.
The technical achievement is notable, but that's about the only thing worthy of recommendation for Leap Year, a turd of a film.
Guilty. That's not to say you two losers don't belong together, though.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (French)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English, Descriptive Audio)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Deleted Scenes