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The Independent Critic

Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott, John Lithgow
Anand Tucker
Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan
Rated PG
97 Mins.
Universal Pictures

 "Leap Year" Review 
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It is the mark of a great actor/actress that when they are on the screen, the entire world lights up.

Amy Adams is such an actress.

Much like Meryl Streep did recently with "It's Complicated," Adams lights up the screen despite the relatively weak material she has to work with in "Leap year," an otherwise remarkably cliche'd rom-com co-starring Matthew Goode as the inevitable "hate her but will eventually love her" leading man.

One has to assume that Adams was in the mood for an Ireland vacation when she agreed to shoot "Leap Year," a stunningly picturesque film with not much else going for it. The film centers around Anna (Amy Adams), who decides to take the advice of her father (John Lithgow, in a far too brief appearance) and propose to her boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott), permitted under Irish tradition on February 29th each leap year. So, Anna flies off from her Boston home to track down her heart surgeon boyfriend in Ireland and, of course, along the way runs into Declan (Matthew Goode) and complications are sure to follow.

I have one question 'Was Katherine Heigl not available?"

There is nothing particularly wrong with "Leap Year," though it depends on the abundant charm and sincere presence of Adams to get its point across. The film is an absolute, 100% paint-by-numbers rom-com without an ounce of originality or variation along the journey. Yet, Adams and Goode comprise a sort of thrift store version of Hepburn and Tracy with their agitated companionship and inviting chemistry. Through a variety of mishaps, Anna ends up on the road with Declan from the small town of Dingle all the way to Dublin.

Along the way, do you really doubt what will happen?

While "Leap Year" is incredibly paint-by-numbers, it's relatively harmless in the way it comes across and, at least as a date flick, there are far worse options in theatres right now than this film. Jeremy, a rather heartthrob of a surgeon, isn't portrayed as a bad guy but clearly isn't the right guy for Anna (a similar dilemma to Adams' "Enchanted"). While her chemistry with Declan may not feel like a perfect fit, Adams portrays it nicely as a perfect for her fit.

Matthew Goode isn't quite what one would picture as the not so heartthrob that who diverts Anna's attention, but Adams has always had a knack for building chemistry with her co-stars. I get the sense that Adams could likely sell a love story between her and Verne Troyer...hopefully, the script never crosses her path. Goode redeems himself rather nicely here, as well, playing a rather scruffy and feisty fellow for much of the film with just the right amount of sympathy and charm. While one gets the sense that with a lesser co-lead Goode would have floundered, he works well here and he and Adams turn "Leap Year" into a much better film than one might expect.

Far more romantic than 2009's godawful "The Ugly Truth" but far less romantic and sweeping than it ought to be, "Leap Year" is a decent way for budding couples to begin 2010 with sufficient cuddle in the seats time and a few heartwarming laughs along the way.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic