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Marshall Fine

Marshall Fine

Posted: January 6, 2010 03:46 PM

HuffPost Review: Leap Year

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Leap Year is the kind of movie that shows up weekly, if not daily, on the Lifetime, WE and Hallmark channels.

Apparently, the public has an insatiable appetite for unfunny romantic comedies about opposites, who attract after first repelling each other. And, apparently, Hollywood has a bottomless pit of this drivel from which to feed that gaping, witless maw -- with films like 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, New in Town -- and now this film.

Women of the world -- unite against brain-dead chick flicks.

Written by the dread team of Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont (authors of such classics as Made of Honor, Josie and the Pussycats, and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas), Leap Year (opening Friday 1/8/10) stars Amy Adams as Anna, a control freak from Boston who, in the early scenes, is disappointed when her drippy doctor boyfriend (Adam Scott) fails to propose marriage at a ripe moment.

So she takes the advice of her ne'er-do-well father (John Lithgow, in a one-scene role): She flies to Dublin to surprise Dr. Dud at a medical conference on Feb. 29. There, she'll utilize the Irish custom that allows women to propose to men on Leap Day. (Because, of course, in 2008 (2012?), women still can't propose to men at any other time without seeming clingingly desperate.)

Just one problem (and, of course, there wouldn't be a movie if there weren't a problem): Bad weather diverts her plane from Dublin to Wales, forcing her to rent a fishing boat, which drops her at a remote village on the opposite side of Ireland from Dublin. There, she and Declan O'Callahan (Matthew Goode) meet cute when she walks into his pub and hires him to drive her to Dublin.

For a variety of comedically shaky premises that are not as funny as someone (director Anand Tucker? Kaplan and Elfont? A mentally challenged focus group?) seems to think, it takes them almost three squabbling days to traverse a country the size of the state of Pennsylvania. Watching this film seems to take even longer than that.

I think Goode has the goods as an actor and a movie star. His presence and charm make him natural and likable, even when he has nothing to do but look askance at Adams (which is most of the film).

Adams, on the other hand, flits desperately around the screen, seeking in vain for some bit of wit to cling to. She's in over her head, sinking with bad material that can't buoy her. She needs to find a support group for actresses whose careers are in danger of foundering from the inability to find decent scripts.

Leap Year is the kind of movie of which I wish I could say, "You couldn't pay me to watch that crap." Obviously, however, you can -- but not nearly enough.

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