Friday, January 8, 2010

Ireland looks pretty but "Leap Year" is a bore

Leap Year (2010) 
100 min., rated PG-13.
Grade: C -

Exactly a year ago in the freezing month of January, the dreadful "Bride Wars" (and let us not forget you, 2007's equally insufferable "Because I Said So") proposed that ambitious women are losers without getting married. Now, a new year and another January—the time to dump big-studio stinkers into theaters—the new weak romantic-comedy "Leap Year" isn't as bad but can't even be redeemed by the charms of Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. Thanks a lot Hollywood. 

Adams plays Anna, a successful, type-A “stager” for realtors who thinks her cardiologist fella, Jeremy (Adam Scott), is going to propose to her but instead leaves for a medical conference in Dublin. Luckily, Anna's father (John Lithgow, needed for 2-minute setup exposition, who was probably desperate for some cash to tip a bartender) explains their family's old Irish custom of leap-year day, so she can surprise him in Ireland and propose to him on February 29th. Looking for a hotel room in the alien European island, Anna meets the scruffy Declan (Matthew Goode), a pub owner, who gives her a room and agrees to get her to Jeremy in time, all for 500 euros. Snore. Can you just see the lame slapstick and complications a'comin? Predictably, an overly precise Ugly American like Anna complains about her cell phone service, flounces around in high heels through rain, tumbles down a hill into mud, takes out the town's electricity, steps in cow dung, and chases after a car that lands in a pond. What a day! 

And Declan loves Anna because, well, he just does, okay? Ah, the lemon-fresh smell of romantic-comedy. 

If "Leap Year" had been made over two decades ago, its story wouldn't feel so overplayed or as such an obvious foregone conclusion. The sparkling Adams is watchable in almost anything, even though her Anna is a shrill, annoying pill, and Goode is nice company. The film boasts some modestly sweet 'rom,' with some nice travelogue shots of the Irish land, but lame 'com' in this sluggish rom-com. If this is the enduring state of romantic-comedies, keep waiting for better.

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