The problem with today’s romantic comedies is that they’re completely predictable, joyless and devoid of any charm. It’s a bold claim but one that can be proven by the tepid films of the past year: He’s Just Not That Into You, The Ugly Truth and The Proposal were basically the same film made three different times with three different casts and directors. Opposites hate each other, fall for each other and marry each other. Case closed.
Focusing on one high-strung Bostonian’s trip across the pond to propose to her boyfriend on Feb. 29 as part of a slightly misogynistic and archaic tradition, Leap Year uses the same premise and could have easily been another unworthy, forgettable film. Its success is due in part to the infinite appeal of Matthew Goode, the film’s leading man.
Amy Adams, as Anna, isn’t bad by any means, but it’s hard to make a character written as a shrill, high-maintenance, self-involved harpy work. Thank God, then, for Goode’s charming, rugged Declan, who serves as the film’s emotional, down-to-Earth center. Goode, reminiscent of Cary Grant and Gregory Peck, may actually achieve leading-man status through this movie. Leap Year also benefits from being set and filmed in Ireland, which has rarely seemed more lush or beautiful than in this movie.
Part of the reality of the genre is that if the female protagonist didn’t wind up with her handsome romantic foil, the film wouldn’t be much of a comedy. The same adage rings true in Leap Year, and in that respect it’s fairly ordinary. The casting of Adams, an Oscar-nominated actress, and Goode, who is just flat-out talented and attractive, gives Leap Year the extra oomph it needs to transcend a genre that has become repetitive and tedious.
Rating: 2.5/4 stars
Starring: Matthew Goode, Amy Adams
Directed By: Anand Tucker
MPAA Rating: PG