Leap Year

It’s not shaping up to be a good year for rom-coms. After the disaster that was Valentine’s Day comes this dreadful misfire with no jokes, a patronising, predictable script and more clichés than you can shake a Blarney Stone at, to be sure – and the Irish Tourist Board should sue Goode for his accent. Director Tucker also made the dreary Shopgirl, and the writers are responsible for another poor rom-com, Made Of Honour – so we can’t say we weren’t warned.

It’s made all the worse for the presence of the hugely-talented Adams – what on Earth is she doing in material like this? She plays Anna, an uptight, super-organised house-maker in Boston who thinks oily boyfriend Jeremy (Scott) is going to propose. When he fails to, and flies to Dublin on business, she decides to follow him and propose herself on February 29, for in Ireland it’s a tradition for women too. Problem No 1: it’s a tradition EVERYWHERE for women to propose to men on February 29 in a leap year, not just Ireland, but never let a fact get in the way of a good plot point. Just in case we missed this set-up, it’s repeated on four different occasions, once by an under-used Lithgow.

After a disastrous journey Anna eventually washes up in Dingle, and meets the surly owner of the local hostelry, Declan (Goode), who reluctantly agrees to drive her across Ireland to Dublin so he can pay his overdue bills. He is scruffy, laid-back, monosyllabic and grubby; she is hygiene-obsessed, immaculately dressed, worried about time and, well, you get the picture. What follows is a string of painfully predictable set-pieces, with her stepping in cow poo, rolling around in mud, banging her head – hilarious, that one – and getting mugged, while he stands by with a stupid smirk on his face. Eventually they get to Dublin – looking remarkably summery on February 29th – but will Anna stick with her sure bet boyfriend or has she fallen for the smelly Declan?

Adams is an actress of enormous charm, but she can’t do much with a script that gives her no jokes and resorts to the cheapest gags at every opportunity. I could watch her all day, but by the end of the film I felt like I had. Goode, though, is the real problem here – apparently he has admitted that the movie is a stinker, and he has the look of someone counting his money. His Irish accent is a crime, and when he exclaims “riddle me this” at one point it’s impossible not to laugh. The only plus point – and it is the ONLY one – is a scene where Adams reveals why she is so uptight, a detail usually missing from these formula rom-coms. That aside it’s generic, slow, predictable and painfully unfunny. Straight into the top-five worse films of 2010 list along with Valentine’s Day – and it’s not even a leap year.

Official Site
Leap Year at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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