In Theaters: Leap Year

Movieline Score:


Life is a checklist for Anna, and her boyfriend's refusal to pony up a ring is seriously messing with her flow. That Adams loudly complained of just this scenario in her real life (though she recently got that proposal -- coos all around) helps to explain why she would take such a demeaning, retrogressive part; Matthew Goode, whose magnetic work in films like Match Point, The Lookout and Brideshead Revisited seemed to leave his American debut in Chasing Liberty far behind, has some explaining to do. "I'm not going to die without getting engaged!" Anna shrieks when her plane to Dublin encounters turbulence and is re-rerouted to Wales. Having received a pair of diamond earrings instead of her expected engagement ring (and boo-hoo to that), Anna has decided to heed the only reliable piece of information her ineffectual father (played, in a truly disconcerting cameo, by John Lithgow) ever gave her and travel to Ireland for "Leap Day," or February 29th, the only day when women are allowed to propose to men.

What the film has really been about, up to this point and as far as I could tell, is Anna's shoes. Her penchant for strappy platform pumps is highlighted in shots of her striding around Boston, her delicately turned ankle somehow not buckling under her purposeful step. That someone as pragmatic as Anna would wear similarly impractical stilettos on a transatlantic flight confirms that the film has no intention of building a consistent character -- why bother when a hackneyed symbol offers such great mileage? The shoes are in fact a self-styled pedestal from which Anna will be knocked over and over again, to much implied hilarity. We learn the worth of the shoes ($600) right after Anna sinks them into dairy cow shit; I could barely watch as she tries to sprint down a gravel hill in them, following a car that's about to meet its maker. She finally removes them in her desperation to catch a long-awaited train, only to fall ass-over-teakettle and do several steamrollers in the Irish mud. Aha, they are instruments of torture and repression, not autonomy! But don't worry, we'll get this headstrong little lass sorted out and back on her bare feet (i.e. in sensible flats and a '50s-era smock dress) in no time.


Anna's vanity is used as less a foil for Declan's modesty (what we learn about Declan could be contained within the tiny hands of his mother's beloved Claddagh ring) than a set-up for his deflating zingers. "My legs are my best feature, or so I've been told," she snips at one point. "And who told you that?" Declan says, a little too snidely to be a successful tease. The two actors do their best to work up a magic moment here and there, but between the flaccid script and torpid direction (in one of the ugliest scenes, which takes place inside a car, Tucker tries to elide both the terrible dialogue and cheap green screen effects by cutting between big, oogly close-ups of his photogenic stars; the effect is merely bizarre) the pickings are pretty slim. This one's a heart-sinker, fromage of the smelliest order; I am mystified by its existence.

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  • ls4 says:

    if every editor wrote like you believe me the world would be a better place! this was an excellent read expecting more!

  • Katy says:

    It is a very predictable movie but I thought the two leads made it an enjoyable one. I know what I am getting when I go to a rom-com and this one was pretty good. Easy to watch, beautiful landscape. I think you may have missed the point of the "I am told my legs are my best feature line". He looks at her chest as he raises his eye brows and says "What idiot told you that". It was a sexy tease that told you he was into her(and thinks her chest is her best feature).

  • wdavid says:

    if you were going to Dublin (on the East side of Ireland) and were somehow rerouted to wales (further East of Ireland) wouldn't take a boat to Dingle, which is on the WEST side on Ireland.

  • Funny, I actually had this on my mind a few days ago and now I come across your blog.