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Case Number 18872

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Leap Year

Universal // 2010 // 101 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Daniel Kelly (Retired) // May 10th, 2010

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All Rise...

Judge Daniel Kelly likes to dress up as a woman on leap day and propose to other men. Hey, it's only one day every four years.

Editor's Note

Our review of Leap Year (Blu-Ray), published May 4th, 2010, is also available.

The Charge

Leap away! LEAP AWAY!

Opening Statement

The prospect of watching the likable Amy Adams (Doubt) and talented Matthew Goode (Watchmen) in a frothy rom-com wasn't something I was dreading. More fool me. Leap Year is a mostly unfunny and painstakingly dull feature, offering a leading duo who boasts absolutely zero chemistry together. Plus, its depiction of the Irish takes the phrase "freaking stupid" to new heights.

Facts of the Case

Anna (Amy Adams) has a great job and a terrifically successful boyfriend (Adam Scott, Step Brothers), but despite her healthy and long love life she has no rock on her finger. After being led to believe a proposal was forthcoming, only to be disappointed with a pair of earrings, Anna is left massively concerned and deflated. However a conversation with her quirky father (John Lithgow, Shrek) reveals that in Ireland a woman can propose to a man on Leap Day, which is conveniently mere hours away, and remarkably where her boyfriend has gone on business. So in sassy rom-com style, Anna heads to Ireland, where she ends up recruiting the services of a surly barman called Declan (Matthew Goode) to get her to Dublin, and the destination of her partner's conference. As you can imagine, Declan and Anna don't get along particularly well over the course of their journey, and many wacky hi-jinks ensue. If cliché is ever considered a proper commodity, then copies of Leap Year will be amongst its richest sources.

The Evidence

Boring, Boring, Boring, Boring!!!! Leap Year is the sort of film audiences can predict from reading the synopsis or watching the trailer. It's an obvious and cliché-ridden dullard of a picture, which most insultingly of all wastes two decent leads. The film's silly interpretation of Ireland adds further problems to the melting pot, albeit the biggest concerns are probably the lack of laughs and its badly conceived romance. Basically it's just another badly produced and uninspired rom-com—because we don't already have enough of those.

Amy Adams is a good actress, a credible comedienne, and a warm screen presence, so why is her performance in Leap Year so bland? I suppose most of the blame must be laid at the doors of Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont (the screenwriting duo behind Josie and the Pussycats), who pack heaps of generic storytelling and dramatic inertia into their sugary script. The characters feel like factory produced automatons, which derails their romance completely. The jokes are of a nauseatingly low quality. I laughed once at the picture; the rest of the time was spent in stone faced silence. It's not as if Leap Year is offensive or misogynistic (and it's much better than say, The Ugly Truth), but there is no denying that it's overly saccharine and completely underdeveloped.

The film is directed by Anand Tucker, a filmmaker who in past projects has at least attempted to do something ambitious. Leap Year is the definition of wimpy cinema, boasting a despicably formulaic screenplay and an obvious ending, with large hunks of unfunny Irish adventuring to fill the gaps. There's nothing brave about such a sappy cocktail. More worryingly however, the movie is also technically rather poor; the editing is clumsy, and whilst the Irish countryside looks pretty, the cinematography feels whitewashed and uninteresting.

The depiction of life in Ireland is all rural shenanigans and heavy boozing, with a few simpleton farmers thrown in for good stereotypical measure. As a resident of Ireland, Leap Year is too innocuous to annoy, its crappy presentation of life on the emerald isle is too unconvincing and cartoonish to properly frustrate. What really burns about Leap Year is its failure to utilize the intriguing combo of Goode and Adams as a screen couple, its banal devotion to formula, and of course its misjudged sense of humour. Leap Year is one to avoid, and if you do see it, at least you'll forget it pretty quickly.

The only extras on this disc are a few deleted scenes, most of which give John Lithgow (whom the film totally fails to use) a bit more fat to chew. I'm glad they've been presented as supplementary material, simply because it keeps the already tiresome film shorter. The audio is decent and the video does capitalize on the Irish scenery, despite Tucker's shamefully workmanlike visual style.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Amy Adams and Matthew Goode make a limp couple, but the latter is okay on the basis of his individual performance. He musters a pretty good Irish accent (a rarity in any production outside of the country itself) and his roguish performance and snarky delivery are at least fun in parts. Basically he's the only semi-memorable thing about the project.

Closing Statement

Leap Year is a waste of time; it barely even works as a travelogue for the Irish tourist industry.

The Verdict

This leprechaun is issuing a guilty verdict. Fiddly dee!!!!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 86
Audio: 85
Extras: 70
Acting: 63
Story: 55
Judgment: 61

Perp Profile

Studio: Universal
Video Formats:
• 2.40:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• DTS 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Subtitles:
• English (SDH)
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
Genres:
• Comedy
• Romance
• Romantic Comedies

Distinguishing Marks

• Deleted Scenes

Accomplices

• IMDb








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