Quick! What year is this? That’s right, it’s 2010. I ask because if you plan on watching the screamingly out of date dud called Leap Year opening at the movies tonight you’ll really need to throw away your calendar and your sense of irony, too. I'm already nominating it as one of the year's worst - and it is only January.
Why? Because Leap Year is the kind of film that says the best thing a bright, beautiful, successful woman can hope for in life is an engagement ring! Scarlet O’Hara eat your heart out, I guess this kind of nonsense isn’t gone with the wind at all.
And by the way, I’m not kidding, that’s the plot of this ludicrous film. She’s the girl who has everything but it means nothing because she doesn’t have a ring. Then she has nothing but it means everything because she does have a ring. There’s no way she could have had both, obviously.
Forget feminism, forget women’s rights, forget any actual living breathing woman you know, if you want equality with men this film says then you’ll have to fly across an ocean, check into a broken down Irish hotel in the middle of nowhere, and hope against hope that an old legend that a woman can actually propose to a man on one night during a leap year is true.
For the first ten minutes of this insufferably jaded garbage I wondered how an actress as whip smart as Adams could have involved herself with such a cynical project. Why is Hollywood still making sludge like this? More to the point, why are so many people still paying to see it?
Oh Amy Adams, you are destroying my faith in humanity. “Leap Year” is an abomination of near Biblical proportions. And your co-star Matthew Goode is just as bad. Playing Declan, the local Irish hunk with a secretly broken heart that’s turned him into a dry, sarcastic SOB, Goode is spectacularly miscast. Known more his upper class English turns in films like “Brideshead Revisited,” we are asked to believe that this gorgeous English toff makes a passable Irish farm boy.
He does not. He does not even come close. When he speaks in his fake Kerry accent you’ll expect glass to shatter. Worse still are the colorful locals, who look like they’ve all been cryogenically frozen around the time John Huston shot “The Quiet Man” and have just recently been defrosted to provide early 1950’s style local color.
In a film that’s filled with American-girl-meets-the-Irish scenes that are so epically awkward you’ll have to watch them through your fingers, an elderly Irish man finally compels our two embarrassed protagonists to kiss for the first time.
“Kiss hur, kiss hur, kiss hur,” shouts the old man. It’s a scene that’s supposed to charm you but you’ll probably want to report the old lecher to the police.
It’s hard to know who this film was made for. The Irish will find the main characters laughable; most women will probably be offended by the idiotic storyline, and most men too, if they have any sense.
It’s true that we’re in a recession and that people are looking for a bit of escapism, and there’s no harm in that, but turning Ireland into a magic kingdom where your fondest dreams come true is a bridge too far for 2010. I mean, hasn’t anyone in Hollywood read the news lately?