Screenwriters Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont have committed plenty of crimes against cinema over the past decade: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; Josie & The Pussycats; Surviving Christmas; Made of Honor. But Leap Year finds them guilty of something I’d thought impossible: They managed to render Amy Adams utterly charmless.
She’s stuck here in one of those inane romantic-comedy concepts that tend to give the entire genre a bad name, playing Boston-based real-estate “stager” Anna Brady. Anna likes everything as neatly organized as the living rooms she designs, and it doesn’t fit in with her plans when her longtime cardiologist boyfriend, Justin (Adam Scott), appears unwilling to pop the question. So when Justin goes to a conference in Ireland, Anna decides to take advantage of an old Irish tradition whereby a woman can propose on Feb. 29 of a leap year, and she makes a surprise visit.
Naturally, that surprise visit takes some unexpected turns, most of them involving a tart-tongued pub owner named Declan (Matthew Goode) who becomes Anna’s Irish escort—and soulmate-in-waiting—when inclement weather affects her travel arrangements. They also tend to involve the most preposterous, head-smacking plot contrivances imaginable—more ill-timed downpours, barroom brawls, wholesale destruction of a wedding reception.
But that’s really all just nit-picking compared to the ghastly premise itself, which never bothers to explain why a driven career woman like Anna never seems to consider the possibility that proposing marriage to a man does not require travel to a foreign country. While Adams has the ability to light up a screen, there’s nothing she can do with one of those scripts that seems to exist solely to humiliate its characters right up until the moment when they’re going to live happily every after. Like Feb. 29, you can only hope something like this only rolls around once every four years or so.
Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott