it’s the 4th week of 2010 and the worst movie of the year has already been released, bombed at the box office, and caused my husband and i to get into a row. that movie is leap year, starring amy adams and matthew goode (i know, i know… who?). folks, this film is the stinker to end all stinkers. what could’ve been a cute, insightful piece of cross-cultural, rom-com, travel eye candy is nothing more than a series of cliches and stereotypes sandwiched between some seriously bad cinematography and brought together by even worse writing.
here’s the basic synopsis: high-powered boston designer girl wants to get married to her equally high-powered but less-than-sensitive doctor boyfriend, but said boyfriend won’t propose. a badly shot scene in an unmarked irish bar somewhere in beantown reveals that our ginger-haired heroine is irish-by-descent (surpise!) as her father tells her a quaint story about a convenient family myth that her grandmother proposed to her grandfather on leap day in ireland. even more convenient: said high-powered but less-than-sensitive doctor boyfriend has just left for a conference in dublin! wow! what coincidence! so, miss ginger-hair jumps on the first fake aer lingus flight she can find, which gets diverted to wales because of bad weather in dublin. she hops on a fishing boat and somehow lands up in dingle (who with the what now?), and that’s where she meets mr. doesn’t-give-a-shit-about-his-life-but-is-way-too-goodlooking-to-be-that-desperate-smalltown-bogger-irish man. the rest of the movie finds these two arguing and flirting their way through the irish country side, as boggerman tries to get ginger to dublin so she can propose on leap day. you know the rest- they fall madly in love and she ends up proposing to him in a sadly unromantic public bar scene and then they get engaged whilst overlooking the cliffs of moher.
okay now, after reading that synopsis, you are probably wondering why i went to see it in the first place.
why i saw it:
a) i have a slightly unhealthy compulsion to see any movie relating to ireland, and there are so few these days!
b) it was a rom-com about an american girl and an irish boy. need i say more?
c) the description on IMDB said that the movie was filmed in wicklow, temple bar, tipperary and other places. we just wanted a slice of home.
i probably should’ve learned my lesson from ps i love you, but i didn’t. and for the record, this movie could stink out ps i love you ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. at least that story was actually written by an irish person.
a quick rundown of some of the more flagrant cliches and general plot problems:
1) her plane gets diverted to WALES? WALES?! because of bad weather in dublin? what????!!!! a) i don’t think dublin airport has ever been shut down due to rain (it would be shut all the time, if that were the case) and b) CARDIFF?! HUH????
2) ginger spends the entire movie in heels. okay, i get that they were trying to show off how high-powered and bostony and american she is. but seriously, she like… never breaks a heel. even when she is hitchhiking down the irish countryside. even when she gets into a BAR BRAWL with a bunch of knackers.(no, seriously, she gets into a bar brawl with a bunch of knackers). [tweetmeme]
3) the stereotypes. oh the stereotypes! this movie manages to offend americans, irish, and even the welsh with its flagrant, awful stereotypes. i couldn’t even begin to list them all. okay, i’ll try: old senile irish men wearing flatcaps and making bad jokes about what day of the week is bad luck to start a journey. tiny irish automobile from the 1970s that barely runs. american girl destroys whole bedroom whilst trying to plug in her cell phone. boy tells girl tale of irish romance myth at the top of a half-cg’ed castle in the rain. “i hope you never steal, lie or cheat. but if you must steal, steal away from bad company, if you must lie, lie next to me, and if you must cheat, cheat death”. that definitely wasn’t all of them, but you get the idea.
4) the geography of this film is just all over the place. they start out in dingle and somehow get to connemara in about 5 minutes walking. then they end up in tipperary, then wicklow, then dublin. at the end, she walks out of boggerman’s pub in dingle and somehow ends up overlooking the cliffs of moher.
now, in case your irish geography is a little rusty, i’ve compiled this handy-dandy leap year map, to show you just what type of route these crazies took across ireland.
would you, in ANY UNIVERSE, use this route to get from dingle to dublin? i think not.
5) a train station would never be right at the foot of a hill with castle ruins on them. and irish trains do run on sundays.
6) the writing is simply unspeakable. that’s all i will say about that.
7) the actor that plays boggerman, matthew goode, isn’t even irish! he’s from exeter, england. this confused me at first: why not just get some gorgeous young rising irish actor to play the part? after seeing the film – not so confusing. doubtless they couldn’t find a single irishman willing to debase himself for such a role. in theory, i wouldn’t have had a problem with this, but if not for the dodgy delivery of his lines and how, every few seconds, goode looked like he was about to burst out laughing. i feel ya, dude.
the long and short: this movie was so bad that we couldn’t even laugh at it and, somehow, it made the two of us get into a fight. that’s how bad it is. and what scares me the most – everyone in the cinema was laughing. it was probably those people’s (and most who see it’s) only view of ireland, ever.
to put it simply, leap year is a cross-cultural crime against film, americans, ireland and the welsh. can i have my 20 bucks back now?