Every year, after the rush of the Oscar potential pictures, I look forward to the January overflow of flotsam and jetsam at the megaplex. After having to fully commit to two hours of film on an almost daily basis over a month, I appreciate being able to sit back and let the stupidity and mediocrity wash over me as I watch such classics as White Noise and One Missed Call. But after seeing Leap Year, which opens today today , I’ve never wanted it to be December so badly.
Leap Year, another Romcom, feels like an exercise in cliché. In it, Amy Adams is the typical uptight, organized and high-earning girlfriend who thinks she has a perfect life. With a rich boyfriend that she loves, she travels to Ireland to pop the question on him while he’s at a business conference. But when she lands on the Emerald Isle, she meets Matthew Goode (the dude who gave Ozymandias that annoying British accent in the Watchmen movie), who’s laid back and doesn’t make plans. She needs a ride to Dublin, and he’s the only one that can provide.
At first they can’t stand each other! It’s like they’re total opposites! But then as they travel across Ireland together, they somehow fall for each other!
This is ridiculous, because Amy Adams’ shallow character is a perfect match for the shallow fiancée. They’re perfectly in sync, walking down the sidewalk able to converse as they consult their blackberries and schedules. They’re both tools, but they’re also perfectly happy with each other, at least they are until the story calls for her to fall in love with someone else.
It’s also ridiculous that she falls in love with him after two days. I mean, the leprechaun is a nice enough guy, but he’s no where near cool enough to convince someone to leave their almost-fiancée. A director can’t just show a guy being nice and broken-hearted and expect us to believe someone else in a four-year relationship could drop everything to get all mopey about someone else.
Maybe I could buy it more if it weren’t a step-by-step remake of every bland Romcom, but as it is I have a hard time getting into the story because I know every point of the story before it hits the screen. They hate each other? They love each other? They can’t be together? She leaves him? They decide to get married? It’s more formulaic than a math equation.
If the jokes hit, it’d be different. If the characters were likable, it’d be different. If the love story worked, it’d be different. But it’s not different, it’s the same thing we’ve all seen over and over before.
As I walked out of the theater, a woman ten feet behind me said to her date, “I’m so tired of all this Alvin and the Chipmunk stuff.” Before he could respond, a middle aged man standing outside of the bathroom with a beer belly that pointed out, with eyes as wide as a four-lane highway turned to the woman and point-blank asked, “What don’t you like about Alvin and the Chipmunks?”
It was the first laugh of the night.