Romantic comedies are surely becoming the laziest film genre for Hollywood to churn out; cheaply made and usually guaranteed financial successes. They can be, and have been, entirely enjoyable; the excellent When Harry Met Sally, or the more recent (500) Days of Summer prove this. Leap Year unfortunately is not one of the better rom-coms, but instead is one of the most poorly and unimaginatively executed films of a fast-tiring, increasingly formulaic genre.
Anna (Amy Adams), disappointed in her boyfriend’s failure to propose after four years together, decides to capitalise on his trip to Dublin by proposing to him on Leap Day: the day when, according to the Irish tradition, a woman can propose to her partner. Why Anna doesn’t just propose on any day is a question that apparently doesn’t need to be asked or even considered, but this isn’t the kind of film where logic plays a part, but rather an entire suspension of disbelief and denial of plot holes. This being a Hollywood film, Ireland is of course represented as a superstitious, poorly developed country, with little to no transport links, brawls in bars and plenty of Guinness.
On the flight over, Anna, through a series of events which make the British Transport system seem positively medieval, arrives in Dingle. Requiring a ride to Dublin to ensure she arrives in time for Leap Day, she enlists the help of Declan (Matthew Goode), paying him to drive her. Declan is of course in desperate need of money as the pub he owns is being threatened with foreclosure, and therefore has no choice but to aid Anna in her endeavour. Thus follows an hour of supposed hilarious comical situations as Anna manages to have her suitcase stolen, miss her train, and wreck her only ride; so far, so cliché.
Leap Year, despite its supposed rom-com roots lacks any genuine comedic moments, whilst the romance fails to ever engage. Amy Adams and Matthew Goode do their best with a paltry script, but the film is bizarrely paced with very little narrative drive, leaving the film poorly developed, and often simply dull. Leap Year fails to even succeed in its low genre expectations; in a genre and formula so predictable, the characters need to engage to ensure the audience’s interest is maintained, especially as its clear how the film will end, but Leap Year fails to create even remotely likeable characters (Anna especially is thoroughly neurotic).
Matthew Goode has effectively disowned the film, explaining he only took the job to remain close to home, further demonstrating just how much of a sub-standard effort this film truly is. Suffice to say, the best thing about this film is the scenery.