I Watched Leap Year & WOW That’s A Terrible Film

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I would begin by warning you that this article contains major spoilers for the 2010 movie Leap Year, starring the watchable wonder that is Amy Adams and sexy string bean Matthew Goode, but there is no such thing as a spoiler when it comes to a film like Leap Year. You know exactly what is going to happen from the beginning – which is one hour and 40 minutes of stereotypical shite that no one asked for.
Opening scenes in Boston introduce us to go-getter Anna Brady (Adams). She’s a conservative type of gal, all twinsets, pearls and bouncy blow-dry with not a split end in sight. She’s in a middling relationship with a doctor who works too hard and doesn’t pay her much attention (awww!). Then again, Anna is kinda prissy, such a perfectionist – one of those uptight women who just needs to loosen up a bit, y'know? (Except the thing is I don’t know because I've never, anywhere in the world, met someone like this, although I do have one friend with no split ends.)
Anna’s problem is that she’s all about keeping up with the Joneses. She excels in her job, which is – METAPHOR ALERT – 'staging apartments' to make them look attractive and homely to prospective buyers but it's all just a clever marketing tactic to make them believe in a life that doesn’t exist and sign the deeds. As subtly as a slap on the ass with a paddle, they're trying to tell us something here: Anna is all style over substance.
It seems something is about to change though, when she finds out that Doctor Distracted is going to propose (SHRIEK!).
That night, in an expensive new dress ('cause why not treat ourselves, girls) and sitting in a classy restaurant, Anna patiently waits, like every woman in history, for him to say those magical words. Instead she is handed a box with diamond earrings inside (bummer!) and no proposal (double bummer!) as the doc has to run off to perform heart surgery. (If she thinks this is unromantic she should have been at my parents' 40th wedding anniversary where my dad realised he forgot to get my mammy a card so took the one she had JUST GIVEN HIM, scratched out the beautiful, romantic message she wrote in it and and scrawled 'MANY HAPPY RETURNS' before stuffing it back in the envelope and handing it to her.) Men, what are they like, eh?
After this crushing disappointment, our protagonist must of course embark on a journey. Because just like every brand, business, reality star, influencer and celeb these days, that's what it’s all about. Getting married? We're going on a journey together! Get rich and famous? What an amazing journey! Get caught not paying your taxes or lying under oath? All part of my personal journey, guys!
On her journey (literal and metaphorical for you slowpokes down the back) Anna will have to overcome many obstacles but in the end she will be transformed. How? By a man of course, silly.
But first! How to shoehorn Ireland into this catshit catastrophe of a film? Let me explain. Still-single sadface Anna goes to meet her dragged-through-a-bush-backwards daddy Jack Brady (the lovely John Lithgow) in a dive bar. He’s late, has a lip for the drink but no money to buy his daughter one – and why? Because he’s a feckless Irishman of course! Her drink-loving, dishevelled dad then reveals a family tradition of women following their slippery men to EYE-ARE-LAND to propose, so Anna decides to take matters into her own hands. And faith and begorrah! Leap day is approaching and the cardiologist is off to a medical convention in Dublin. (I did try and find out if the leap year proposal tradition really stems from Ireland but there is no evidence. Some say St Patrick, our patron saint – who knew how to style an embroidered frock and a crook – made it up to give women a chance in the olden days, but it is as apocryphal as him driving all the snakes out of Ireland.)
But who cares, 'cause blessed be the holy mother of god, top of the morning to yer, shamrocks and whiskey all around, we’re OFF TO THE OLD COUNTRY!
Anna’s journey gets off to a bad start when the plane is diverted to Wales because of the weather and at this point, having had a dozen Irish stereotypes shoved in my face, I’m surprised they don’t crash-land in a field of leeks. With no buses running and the ferry out of action, Anna charters a fishing boat and lands in Co. Kerry, where I am very afraid that someone is going to attempt to do the accent.

Blessed be the holy mother of god, top of the morning to yer, shamrocks and whiskey all around, we're OFF TO THE OLD COUNTRY!

Mysteriously, the boat doesn’t dock at a pier, leaving Anna on a deserted beach, still wearing her pencil skirt and heels. Anyway, cue the diddly-i music as she walks through the scenic streets of the beautiful and magical village of Dingle.
She enters a funny little pub full of funny little Irish fellas – drunks mainly, naturally – except for lash of the century Declan (Matthew Goode) doing the most atrocious Irish accent since Tom Cruise in Far And Away. We'll give him an award, though, for managing to do a Dublin, Cork, Galway and Kerry accent all in the one sentence.
Fuck out of luck in this cursed land where everyone is a hapless drunk and with no one to drive her, Anna is forced to spend the night at the pub (the only place to stay despite Dingle being a huge tourist spot with dozens of hotels and B&Bs. I'm all for suspending disbelief but this is a major clanger – tantamount to landing in New York without a taxi or a slice of pizza to be found). The room she is given is a total dump obviously but these bogmen are used to no better. And of course she can't understand a word anyone is saying 'cause all of them have SUCH FUNNY accents.
Eventually our pig-ignorant Irishman (I'm surprised we haven't seen any actual pigs running around yet) who is also desperate for money offers to drive Anna to Dublin and they set off on a very smooth car journey without incident. KIDDING!
Instead we get a cliché-filled, caper-filled journey that involves our uncouth (but also maybe charming?) Irishman having the craic at Anna's expense, a cow collision, a car crash and – at 33 minutes in – someone shouting "TOP OF THE MORNING TO YA!"
Truly, no one can accuse the filmmakers of not shoehorning every hackneyed Irish stereotype into this movie. At one stage Anna falls for a gaggle of young fellas with the gift of the gab and ends up robbed because don’t be fooled, these simple Irish ruffians may SEEM harmless but when push comes to shove they're violent, and soon after we get a good old punch-up at the pub.
And so the the journey continues, every stop or meeting involving another Irish caricature (mostly drunk, dishonest or dumb). I'll give them credit for one thing: there is no mention of leprechauns.

I am so bored of watching TV shows and films that rely on lazy and inaccurate assumptions about entire races and nationalities.

Slowly, on this madcap adventure through a lawless land, our odd couple start to learn about each other. Turns out Anna's dad was shit with money (of course!) and Declan's had his heart broken and looks nice with his top off. After a few revelations, there's a SEXY COOKING MONTAGE where great-with-his-hands Declan cooks the Irish classic, coq au vin (he's lucky the dirty muck savages aren't after drinking all the wine already, the DIVILS!!).
FINALLY they reach civilisation (Dublin) where Anna is warned she still needs to watch out for "chancers and cheats" and there is just enough time to wedge in something about a Claddagh ring. By this juncture I'm seething at this stupid film and all the inferences that Irish people are backwards and a bit mad, and will rob you blind if you let them. But I'm even angrier with myself because I’d still totally have a go off Matthew Goode.
Anyway, the doc proposes, Declan goes to the pub and Anna goes back to her lacklustre life of lovelessness, lobster and pencil skirts, before realising this is not what she wants at all and flying back to bumpkin town to get the guy in your typical 'I'm just a girl' mea culpa speech in a packed pub. He says yes because he's loved her all along and, with that, this spectacularly insulting to everyone – even the cows – shambles of a film draws to a close, with a kiss and a stunning shot of the only thing in the entire movie that doesn't disappoint: the view of the Irish coastline.

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