I’m an Irishman, through and through. When it comes to films dealing with visits to the Emerald Isle, I can get pretty critical – depending upon the subject matter. For the record, Romantic Comedies do not fall into my “critical review”. So, fear not, those of you who love a good Romantic Comedy, I will not bash this film based upon some ethnic reasoning. If you saw my review for “P.S. I Love You”, you can deduce the nature of my feelings towards Romantic leads.
This I can say for “Leap Year”: the leads had chemistry. It wasn’t overwhelming and it didn’t seem all that …fresh. In other words, although I saw chemistry between the 2 leads, I didn’t feel like it was really magical. I like Amy Adams, and I think she’s a fine actress. She really won me over with her role in “The Wedding Date” as a very ditzy blonde. In “Leap Year” though, she doesn’t seem that into it. Maybe she was tired during the shoot? Maybe she was sick? I don’t know what it was, but I sensed a lack of enthusiasm on her behalf for her character. She was good in it, and she ACTS – which is refreshing for a lot of Romantic Comedies lack that.
Amy Adams plays opposite Matthew Goode, whom I honestly may have recognized, but never knew him as an actor. He actual IS in another film, which I adored: “the Watchmen”. (He was Conrad Veidt in that film, and was perfect!) So, Goode (who is actually English) plays an Irish Innkeeper named Declan in this film and he is pretty convincing. I like the casting because he isn’t some stereotypical hunky Black Irish lad, all muscles and charm. He is instead this lanky, slightly offensive lad with an affection for shabby sweaters. Honestly, it’s the more believable version of an Irishman.
The acting is solid, the scenery is absolutely beautiful (ahem, the Cliffs of Moher!), and the concept is good. However, the story seems to get a little lost. The story runs as thus: uptight girl is waiting for her boyfriend of 4 years to ask for her hand and when he doesn’t she embraces an old Irish tradition that says on Leap Year (February 29th) the girl can ask the guy. The problem is that the guy she wants to ask is in Ireland for some business meeting/conference. So, she flies over there, runs into bad weather, and has to try to rough it from Dingle Peninsula to Dublin in a short amount of time. The bulk of the tale follows the 2 leads as they fall for each other as they move through this haphazard adventure to Dublin.
The story is missing a lot of parts that were cut from the film for some reason. If you rent or buy the DVD, check out those cut scenes after watching the movie and you’ll get exactly why I say this. You don’t get a lot of the explanation of why she is the way she is. You don’t understand her relationship with her dad until ONE sentence is said during the film. You don’t see a whole lot of her relationship with the fellow she seeks to be betrothed to. And you don’t see enough to understand quite how she feels about the two men and how she arrives at her choice between the two. Basically, the story lacks a lot of pretty vital points.
So, it is a good-looking film that lets you down with the enthusiasm of the female lead, stuns you with the locations, gives you a pretty good concept, but fails to deliver the depth that the film really needed to make it great. “Leap Year” isn’t awful, but it is no “Just like Heaven” or “When Harry Met Sally”. Approach it like that, and you may enjoy the movie a lot more.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE