It was pouring in LA yesterday. It has been raining for two days and it's supposed to continue all week. The streets in my neighbourhood were flooding. Cars were hydroplaning everywhere. People were running into the 7-Eleven near my apartment asking if they sold umbrellas. They don't (they do sell 3-foot-tall birthday cards and rap records, however). I wondered if this was a biblical type of flood and if LA was finally being recognized as so shallow a place that it should just be wiped off the map. But no such luck.
Me, I went for a nice long walk in the rain. No matter how bad the weather gets here, nothing can top the days when I was an intern at Eye Weekly, walking to work in -38 degree temperatures. Once I got home, absolutely soaked to the core from doing my rain dance, I decided to take refuge from my leaking apartment building by going to see 'Leap Year', starring It-girl of the moment Amy Adams and the charming Matthew Goode. div style="text-align: center;">
Me, I went for a nice long walk in the rain. No matter how bad the weather gets here, nothing can top the days when I was an intern at Eye Weekly, walking to work in -38 degree temperatures. Once I got home, absolutely soaked to the core from doing my rain dance, I decided to take refuge from my leaking apartment building by going to see 'Leap Year', starring It-girl of the moment Amy Adams and the charming Matthew Goode.
The film mostly takes place in Ireland and I am partial to all things Irish -- The Pogues, Gabriel Byrne, Irish coffee. I have a friend here who, when he gets drunk, leaves the bar and goes home without telling anyone. He calls that "an Irish goodbye." I call that an alcohol problem. Anyway, since it's a romantic comedy, I wasn't expecting much from 'Leap Year.' But, I am a chick and I am partial to chick flicks. Though, maybe I shouldn't say it's a chick flick. There were men in the audience who didn't seem to have been dragged along by their girlfriends.
Ah, let's face it, it's a chick flick.
When the film opens, we are in New York City where we're introduced to Anna Brady (played by Amy Adams), a highly strung, neurotic control freak who is a 'stager'. A stager makes apartments and homes more appealing in order to sell them. Anna is great at her job. She is a highly organized, detail-oriented perfectionist. Anna also pours these qualities into her romantic relationship with her cardiologist boyfriend Jeremy (played by Adam Scott). They seem to be the perfect couple. They have the perfect life. They are about to move into the perfect apartment. But to Anna, the relationship won't be perfect until they are married. Together for four years, Anna thinks it's time they become engaged. When Jeremy is sent to Ireland, Anna follows him in order to take part in an Irish tradition whereby a woman can ask a man to marry her on February 29th, hence the film's title.
Unfortunately for Anna, her plane is diverted to Wales due to storms, and she can't land in Dublin. In fact, the Dublin airport is shut down. But, Anna is hell bent on finding a way to Dublin to meet up with Jeremy in order to propose on February 29th. Anna's take-charge attitude kicks in and she takes a boat to a small Irish town where she meets the gorgeous, but seemingly cynical Declan (Goode) who runs Caraghs, an inn with a bar where old Irish barflies sit around talking about Irish superstitions. Anna and Declan don't get along. At all. He finds her ridiculously high-maintenance, with messed-up priorities, and she finds him crass and 'beastly'. But, you know how repulsion often works. That's right. It morphs right into romantic chemistry and highly-charged sexual tension.
The money-challenged Declan allows the money-privileged Anna to hire him to drive her to Dublin and the two begin a journey which includes a series of misadventures along the way -- you know, typical stuff like cows lingering in the road, tripping down a hilltop where a castle is perched and landing in mud, etc. Of course, they had to encounter troubles along the way. Without them, they'd have gotten to Dublin more quickly and wouldn't have had the time to bond. And, the film would only be half an hour.
As the pair bicker and chip away at each other's defence mechanisms, it's clear they have more in common with each other than they first thought. But it doesn't matter. Anna, come hell or high water, is going to Dublin to become engaged to her boring boyfriend, Jeremy the cardiologist. Jeremy might know his way around most aortas and ventricular chambers, but it doesn't seem like he's been able to find his way into Anna's heart beyond just being an idealistic idea in her head about what makes the perfect man.
Declan constantly teases Anna about her need to get married and basically, without mincing words, tells her that she's desperate. Anna thinks Declan is made of stone and that he can't love. Maybe both of them haven't really and truly ever loved? Isn't that the point of a romantic comedy?
Eventually, Anna and Declan arrive in Dublin where she is greeted by Jeremy. Together, Anna and Jeremy fly home to New York City. Declan returns to his quaint Inn in the Irish countryside. The end. No. Wait. Is that the end? That isn't very satisfying. We barely even know Jeremy. He's only been in a few scenes. And he has no passion. We've spent an entire movie with Declan. We like Declan. He humanizes Anna. And vice versa.
Will Anna return to Declan? Will she just continue to prod on in her seemingly perfect life and take the path of least resistance? I'll leave that to you to find out. But I'm sure you can guess how it ends.
Call me sappy, but I enjoyed 'Leap Year,' even with all its silliness and predictable plot. It's an enchanting, sweet story about love. And, love is all you need. Well, unless you've seen the recent Blackberry commercials which use that very Beatles song -- so all you need is a Blackberry, $120 a month for a decent plan and... love.