Leap Year: movie review

( PG ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

‘Leap Year’ is a comfy fantasy whose final destination is obvious.

Jonathan Hession/Universal Pictures/AP
In this film publicity image released by Universal Pictures, Matthew Goode, left, and Amy Adams are shown in a scene from, "Leap Year."

Amy Adams is such a likable actress that she makes the romantic comedy “Leap Year” worth watching even though we’ve seen it all before. The trick to these films is making our ride as enjoyable as possible even though the final destination is obvious.

In the case of “Leap Year,” however, everything is obvious. Adams plays Anna, a real estate trendoid who has been waiting four years for her Boston cardiologist boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott) to propose. Finally she hatches a plan: Taking advantage of an old Irish custom that permits women to propose to men on Leap Day, she trails Jeremy to a Dublin medical meeting. But bad weather waylays her and she’s forced to hire a surly innkeeper, Declan (Matthew Goode), to motor her across the Irish wilds to Dublin.

Guess what happens? Writer-director Anand Tucker isn’t very subtle about stacking the deck. Jeremy is an officious prig and Declan’s jaundiced eye rapidly turns misty. As he and Anna fight and fume their way across the countryside, we’re meant to chuckle at their disparities. He’s homespun and she’s a fashion setter. Our biggest belly laugh is supposed to come when she accidentally digs her expensive high heels into a cowpat. If you find this sort of thing funny, by all means make haste to “Leap Year.”

The movie being set in Ireland, the filmmakers can’t resist piling on the blarney. There’s a fine line between blarney and baloney, though, and Tucker crosses it repeatedly. I suppose it’s a relief that, for a change, we have a movie set in Ireland that’s not about the Troubles. Still, this sort of barfly and brogue business might have given even John Ford pause. I kept waiting for leprechauns.

The chick-flick retroness of this movie could end up working in its favor commercially. Anna may be a highly successful career woman but, deep down, of course, her career means nothing to her. What she really wants is a dreamy Irish dreamer. If Jeremy had been shown to be a caring physician instead of a money-grubbing prig, this film’s game plan might have been revealed as the sham it is. “Leap Year” is a corporate-era, back-to-nature scenario. Basically, it’s saying that the only way to find yourself is in the moors. It’s a comfy fantasy and Adams gives it a lyrical lilt, but in the real world, the sequel to this film would probably have Anna and Declan stepping around lots of cowpats.

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