Romantic Road Trip Movies: Leap Year Review
This shallow 2010 romp through the hills of Ireland will undoubtedly leave most audience members pondering a serious question: is there anything worse than being stuck in a car between a narcissistic, spoiled city woman (Amy Adams at her least charming) and a cynical, disorderly country guy (Matthew Goode, in his worst role since Chasing Liberty)? With their 100 minutes of squabbling, likely not.
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The Vehicle and the Journey
The vehicle (*ba dum ch*) for these incessant quarrels is a burnt red, old Renault 4 which Declan O’Callaghan (Goode) uses to transport Anna Brady (Adams) to Dublin, where she can force her clueless boyfriend into accepting her marriage proposal on February 29 (an overly-complicated Irish tradition/plot device). The car is rusty, backfires, falls apart, and plays Flogging Molly on a cassette player—all representative of aspects of rural Irish culture Brady detests—and ends up in a pond after 10 minutes. The characters are left to hike from pub to pub until Anna Brady comes to the inevitable conclusion that life is more about people than price tags, and that love should be impulsive. Luckily, the car is recovered in time for the bicker-filled drive into the sunset.
Our Leap Year Review
While the road trip formula has become the customary method of introducing an opposites-attract pair romance, it needs more complete character development and memorable situations to transcend the formula. Unfortunately, the unenthusiastic script drags paper-thin characters through forced situations to arrive at a predictable conclusion that claims to be “romantic.” Furthermore, the film perpetuates boorish stereotypes of Irish country folk and driven, career women (who tear apart strangers’ bedrooms in search of outlets to charge their smart phones).
The only way a film like Leap Year can inspire romance is encouraging the audience to give thanks that their significant others aren’t this grating.
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