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Movie Reviews

Amy Adams shines in otherwise boggy ‘Leap Year’

Amy Adams shines in otherwise boggy ‘Leap Year’

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Neil Pond
American Profile
January 26, 2010
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When a matrimonially impatient New York woman wants to light a fire under her reluctant-to-pop-the-question boyfriend, she pursues him to Ireland, where a leap year tradition puts the proposal ball in her court.

According to Irish lore, women are allowed to propose marriage to men once every four years as February’s extra day rolls around.

But, as you might expect, her road to romance takes an unexpected detour.

Amy Adams plays Anna, a successful Manhattan decorator with a high-dollar lifestyle and a workaholic cardiologist boyfriend (Adam Scott) who doesn’t quite share her itch to hitch. When her noncommittal doc drops the ball on a perfect opp to pop the question---then ducks out to Dublin for a medical conference---Anna heeds the old-school advice of her Irish dad (John Lithgow). She rolls the dice on a fabled Emerald Isle custom and hops a trans-Atlantic flight to surprise him on Feb. 28.

Should we read anything into Anna’s bumpy airplane ride? Oh, yes!

Diverted to Wales due to story weather, she must somehow make her way to Dublin. A chartered boat, beset by the storm, dumps her ashore in a quaint little village called Dingle. That’s how she encounters a scruffy young Irish rogue, Declan (British actor Matthew Goode), who agrees to drive her the rest of the way.

Declan and Anna get off to a chilly start, but you won’t be surprised as they begin to warm up to each other. In fact, you won’t be surprised by much of anything in this wee, weak and wisp-thin romantic comedy, which uses just about every tired convention and shopworn cliché in the rom-com playbook.

The on-location photography is, however, quite splendid, with vistas of Ireland’s natural splendor filling the screen. But why doesn’t late February on the British Isles look colder? No one so much as shivers, even when drenched by a downpour. And what kind of vegetable garden, anywhere in the North Atlantic, produces bountiful carrots and leafy lettuce just a couple of weeks after Valentine’s Day?

And why in the world would a modern-day, successful and savvy woman, like Anna, fall for such a crock of Lucky Charms malarkey? You never believe for a minute that a real female, under her circumstances, would entertain even the itty-bittiest inkling of interest in such a silly shamrock scheme. This IS the 21st century, right?

The bright spot in this boggy botched mess is Amy Adams, a fine and always interesting actress who sparkles and shines here despite the stilted storyline, preposterous improbabilities and an artificially sweetened storybook ending. The feisty, quippy sparks between her character and Goode’s are the only things that keep this movie from sinking like a 100-pound blarney stone.

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