This seems to be the weekend for catching up with new (or at least new-ish) movies! Having watched ME AND ORSON WELLES (2008), UNSTOPPABLE (2010), and MORNING GLORY (2010) over the last couple days, tonight I watched LEAP YEAR, which came out last January.
LEAP YEAR stars Amy Adams as Anna Brady, who impulsively decides to follow her longtime cardiologist boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott) from Boston to Dublin, where he's attending a medical convention; Anna intends to propose to him on Leap Day. Of course, the best-laid plans go awry and Anna finds herself stranded in Ireland far from Dublin. She persuades Declan (Matthew Goode), a pub owner, to drive her to Dublin in a battered Renault. An attraction gradually develops between Anna and Declan, leading her to question her desire to marry Jeremy and what she wants out of life.
When the movie came out, some reviewers criticized the film as being too familiar and derivative. However, that's precisely what I liked about it -- it aspires to be nothing more than what it is, an old-fashioned road romance set amidst beautiful Irish landscapes. The formula dates back at least as far as IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934), made over 75 years before: girl and boy go on a road trip, bicker, are attracted despite themselves, and make predictably happy decisions by film's end. Works for me!
Carl Kozlowski of Big Hollywood agrees: "...an old-fashioned good time. The romance is sweet, the cliched situations are staged with enough verve to seem newly fresh, and the stars’ chemistry is palpably appealing. 'Leap' also offers a non-stop tableau of Irish scenery making viewers wish they could go along for the ride."
Adams and Goode have charm to spare, and fortunately the film's silliest sequence, which finds Anna inadvertently destroying her hotel room, is over and done with early in the movie.
The film gets better as it goes along and Anna and Declan begin to know and like one another, and it builds to a satisfying conclusion. It was the perfect movie for a cold, windy Southern California evening. If you're looking for a happy, feel-good movie to buy or Netflix this winter, this is your film.
Parental advisory: This film is a fairly mild PG, which for the most part is family-friendly.
LEAP YEAR was directed by Anand Tucker. It runs 100 minutes. Trailers can be seen at IMDb.
LEAP YEAR has been released on DVD. The DVD contains deleted scenes. As I write this, Amazon has the film on sale for a low $7.99.