Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 24, 2021)
It seems hard to believe, but Amy Adams didn’t make her film debut until the age of 25 in 1999 with a small part in Drop Dead Gorgeous. Adams gained attention for her critically acclaimed turn in 2005’s Junebug and finally achieved a level of actual stardom with 2007’s Enchanted.
This meant Adams could now get true leads in movies. This status led her to the top billing for 2010’s romantic comedy Leap Year.
Anna Brady (Adams) seems to enjoy the perfect life in Boston with long-time boyfriend Dr. Jeremy Sloane (Adam Scott) – with one snag. After four years together, Jeremy has yet to propose marriage, and Anna finds herself impatient to become betrothed.
When Jeremy goes to Ireland for a medical conference, Anna follows him so she can use the Irish tradition of “Leap Day”. Every February 29th, if a woman proposes to a man, he must accept.
With this in mind, Anna attempts to get to Dublin, but various snafus arise along the way. Desperate to make it to Jeremy in time for Leap Day, she hires handsome pub owner Declan O'Callaghan (Matthew Goode) to drive her there.
Anna and Declan get off on the wrong foot, and matters don’t improve – not immediately, at least. As they trek toward Dublin, might love bloom?
That’s a rhetorical question, as anyone who’s ever seen a romantic comedy knows the answer. Pair the stuffy, buttoned-down Anna with the earthy, down to earth Declan and we know exactly where the story will go.
I don’t object to the predictable nature of Leap. Sure, we find not a single surprise here, but that often becomes true of most genres – heck, it’s not like we don’t know James Bond will best his adversary.
For a movie as preordained as a rom-com like Leap, it becomes crucial that we enjoy the journey despite its easily-anticipated series of character developments. Alas, Leap brings no charm or pleasure along the way.
Given Adams’ natural talents, it comes as a moderate surprise that nothing engaging emerges here. Unfortunately, even with her inherent cinematic charisma, Adams can’t bring any life to this dull, trite clunker.
God love her, Adams tries her best, but she can’t locate real heart in her bland role, and she enjoys precious little chemistry with Goode. They make an attractive on-screen pairing but they don’t show the spark they need for the movie to work.
Even with actual fireworks between the leads, though, we’d still be stuck with a slow, tedious story. We proceed through a slew of predictable beats, none of which ever threaten to amuse or entertain.
It doesn’t help that Leap fails to give us the requisite view of Anna and Jeremy as a mismatched couple. Yeah, it hints that their relationship seems more based on social status than love, but we barely get to know Jeremy before the movie ships him off the Ireland, so we don’t root against him like we should.
Perhaps I should applaud that Leap doesn’t turn Jeremy into the usual jerk who we want out of Anna’s life, and I do appreciate that he doesn’t present a cartoon lout. Nonetheless, we need a stronger sense that Anna and Jeremy make a bad couple but we don’t.
Even the basic plot prompts eye rolling. C’mon – it’s the 21st century, and Anna presents as a strong, independent woman. Does she really need some Irish “tradition” to propose to Jeremy? Why not do it… whenever she feels like it?
Because then we wouldn’t have a movie, so this dopey contrivance becomes paramount. Toss in a wasted use of John Lithgow and Leap Year becomes a weak excuse for a rom-com.