It kind of sucks.
Amy Adams plays a privileged, high-maintenance sociopath named Anna who secretly follows her seemingly marriage-ducking boyfriend Jeremy to Dublin so that she can propose to him. You see, according to an ancient tradition (read: this movie’s whacked-out logic), a woman can only propose to a man on Leap Day and be guaranteed a positive answer.
Maybe that is a real tradition, but something about the movie leads me to believe that any other day wouldn’t count or, at the very least, her friends and family would shake their heads in pity, because clearly Anna was desperate and Jeremy was non-committal. Only the charming and unique proposal would save a woman’s proposal to a man from being seen that way.
Our society encourages us to be busybodies when it comes to other people’s love lives, marriages, and child-rearing, true enough, but this is one area that I think romcoms tend to hurt more than they help. Unlike Disney films, which are usually animated fantasies, romcoms are so life-like that it’s easy for people to look at any fantasy (because that’s what they are) and mistake it for a real and likely possibility. Leap Year tries to seem bold and progressive, but it’s still just another take on Pride and Prejudice, just with a different setting. The basic formula is still the same, and it is still as boring, done-to-death, and unrealistic as ever.
Needless to say, if you value commitment and fear that your partner doesn’t, talk about it to them directly (which no one seems to ever do in romcoms), compromise, or move onto someone else who’s more in line with you.
Anyway, a storm forces Anna’s plane to land in the wrong place, so she takes shelter at a cute little inn that is on the brink of going under financially. The owner, Declan, while understandably annoyed by a loud-mouthed, arrogant foreigner sweeping in and acting like she’s above it all, kindly offers her a room and, eventually, a personal shuttle to get her trip back on track.
Is she thankful? Is she respectful or understanding?
She proceeds to tear her room apart in an over-the-top, unrealistic, and painfully “comedic” fashion, even going so far as to cause a power outage for the surrounding village as well as the inn.
And when confronted by Declan, does she apologize?
She complains that his outlet is weird and fried her phone! That is like asking to borrow someone’s grill for a barbeque, forgetting the meat until it was too late, and then coming back to the owner and complaining that his grill burned his burgers!
How does that make sense? And moreover, what the heck am I supposed to identify with or like about this character? If you’re going to make a “city girl goes to the country” type of story, you cannot get away with making her this despicable. Naive and cocky, maybe, but there has to be something to like about her that outweighs the negative qualities.
Or, if she’s despicable on purpose, at least make her compelling or interesting to watch.
So shenanigans ensue, but only after she wreaks his car. Tragic and sympathetic backstories are reviled, Declan and Anna go from hating one another to falling in love in a ridiculously short span of time, and then we have a third-act misunderstanding. Because of course we do.
I will say that it is refreshing to see the woman realize that she messed up for once and go apologize to the guy, but other than that, Leap Year is incredibly by-the-numbers. For the first third of the movie, once she lands in Wales, Anna is incredibly hard to sympathize with. I feel worse for Declan, and yet the movie itself either seems indifferent or sides with Anna. I hate that. It’s very unpleasant to watch. The second third is nice, with pretty popping colors and shots of Irish scenery, but the comedy is predictable and unfunny, so it falls flat.
There’s a really awkward scene where Anna and Declan stop at a bed and breakfast and have to pretend to be married to stay, and at the dinner table the hosts and their other guests get really pushy about seeing them make out. Wacky shenanigans!
I’m fine with cutesy couples being cutesy, but I find making out blatantly in front of company a bit rude and I certainly would never pressure anybody to do it for my amusement, but hey, maybe it’s a cultural thing…?
I like Amy Adams, but she’s certain no Audrey Hepburn. I’d rather watch her be sickeningly sweet as Giselle in Enchanted than hear her complain about being late just because the pilots refuse to put both her and the other passengers’ lives in danger.
Overall, if you like it, fine. I don’t, but I’ve met people who do and it was topical today.
*All pictures and video belong to Anand Tucker, Spyglass Entertainment, and Universal Pictures.