Friday, January 8, 2010

Leap Year

Look Before You Leap

"Leap Year" is a romantic comedy rather short on laughs but plenty long on gorgeous scenery, and unfortunately, tired plot devices.

Adorable Amy Adams is the equally adorable Boston Irish lass Anna, a take-charge girl who "stages" expensive apartments in preparation to rent.

Adam Scott is her all-business cardiologist boyfriend, Jeremy. Scott is an actor who is adept at playing smug, insufferable characters. We dislike Jeremy instantly.

Anna frets that Jeremy will never pop her the marriage question. He has nimbly dodged the issue for four years.

Her tradition-minded dad (John Lithgow) is concerned Anna will end up being an unclaimed blessing, so he cooks up a bit of blarney about an Irish tradition that allows single women to propose to a man once every four years, on Leap Year Day.

In the first of many convenient coincidences, Jeremy has business in Dublin.

That's all it takes for Anna to pack up her sky-high heels and girly wardrobe in a Louis Vuitton suitcase and buy round-trip airfare to Ireland.

Wouldn't you know her flight is diverted by bad weather to Wales, the first of many such detours. She misses a train and is stranded in the middle of nowhere, finding the only available taxi in town at a small Irish pub run by a morose young bartender.

Handsome Declan (Matthew Goode) is also driver of said taxi: an old, decrepit Renault R-4.

Declan is so contemptuous of the perky, pushy American he says she can keep her offer of 500 pounds to drive her to Dublin. One of the nosy locals argues sensibly Declan should take the money and drive.

Opposites-attract romances have been a staple of movies ever since Clark Gable romanced Claudette Colbert on the road in 1934 in "It Happened One Night."

That justly-honored movie was by the great Frank Capra. "Leap Year" is directed by Anand Tucker, with a story by script doctors Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan.

Amy Adams tries her adorable best with athletic pratfalls, mud baths, barf and numerous other humiliations, but the supposedly sizzling chemistry between Anna and Declan does not really ignite until the obligatory finale, which seems to take forever.

Ah, but as a travelogue for Ireland, the Emerald Isle has never seemed more romantic or fetching.


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