In Theaters: Leap Year
If you've seen the poster for Leap Year, Anand Tucker's big, rattling snore of a romantic comedy, you know how it ends. Amy Adams + Matthew Goode = True Love Forever. If you've seen any of screenwriting duo Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont's previous films, including Made of Honor and Surviving Christmas, you can anticipate pretty much every frame of its doggedly, almost abrasively cut-and-paste plot, from the opening montage of Boston real estate fluffer Anna's (Adams) life, which runs with Swiss Watch precision -- except for that dang doctor boyfriend (Adam Scott) who seems to love but won't marry her -- to her bitter humbling in the Irish countryside and wacky circumstantial bunk-up with an earthy chauffeur named Declan (Goode) who shows her the error of her tight-assed, materialistic American ways.
A lack of originality is not intrinsically bad news for a romantic comedy -- it's not news at all. But there is formula and then there is the kind of bloodless, make-work project that Hollywood keeps turning out as part of a cynical numbers game: eventually a moronic public will cleave to one of them somehow, the thinking goes, and thus create a bankable something or other.
Everything about these films (and this film) is joyless at best, even less fun to watch than they must have been to make; given the barely disguised embarrassment that seizes the features of Leap Year's otherwise charismatic stars, that looks like pretty much no fun at all. The film manages to condescend to everyone within its grasp, including -- and perhaps chiefly -- the audience. It's hard to care about the shabby treatment of the Irish, the Italian, or Amy Adams' poor, spindly ankles when one's own honor is called into question by the film's specious, finger-wagging terms. Every time an Irishman fell off of his chair or dispensed a tediously quaint piece of folklore, every time the decrepitude of Ireland's public works was asserted with a wink, and every time Amy Adams unloaded a shrill expectation that was met with abject humiliation, I felt a little more sorry for myself. Is this really what you think of me, Mr. Tucker? Is this what you think we all deserve?
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