Once every four years we gain a magical extra day, the 29th of February. According to legend it is on this day, this mystical ~spare~ day, that a woman may, breaking all codified patriarchal tradition, propose to her boyfriend. I KNOW. What a WILD concept.
It was this zany concept that led to the making of the seminal rom-com classic, 2010’s Leap Year. Starring our QUEEN Amy Adams (Enchanted made it into our top 20 rom-coms of the past 20 years), this movie follows a New Yorker whose desperate desire to marry her boyfriend sees her travelling to Ireland to meet him, and propose, on February 29th.
Of course, along the way, she is aided by a devastatingly handsome Irishman (who doesn’t believe in marriage), and starts to think that maybe her long-time boyfriend may not be The One for her…
Ok, this film is really just a collection of all the best and worst rom-com clichés thrown together, but hey, it’s a leap year, so we thought, why not re-visit this mess of a movie and break down all the reasons you should re-watch it this leap year?!
** SPOILERS ABOUND. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED **
HOT IRISH DUDE
Ok. It’s a gimmie that they’d cast a Generically Handsome Man TM to be the love interest. But Leap Year stars Matthew freaking Goode!! THE Matthew Goode who’s currently my Vampire boyfriend on A Discovery of Witches. THE Matthew Goode who played my other TV boyfriends Finn in The Good Wife and Henry Talbot in Downton Abbey. Plus, in this movie he’s roguish and Irish which makes him 30% hotter???
** SWOOOOOON **
Ben Wyatt as ‘Terrible Boyfriend’
Every rom-com needs their heroine to have a TERRIBLE boyfriend who can contrast with the sheer gorgeousness and perfection of the ‘real’ love interest. And in Leap Year this ‘bad boyfriend’ is played by Adam Scott. Yep BEN WYATT. It’s very difficult to see someone as a ‘Terrible Boyfriend’ when you’ve seen them be a Calzone-fueled sweetheart on one of the most delightful TV shows of all time. But it’s always fun to see Adam Scott in things.
** Moment of appreciation for Ben Wyatt **
The classic ‘city girl vs nature’ comedic moments are deployed fast and loose in this movie. Amy Adams’s heroine loses her luggage at the hands of a local gang, causes a power outage when trying to charge her Blackberry (lol) and her journey is thwarted by a herd of mischievous Irish cows on the road, which leads, inevitably, to her slapstick-falling down the hill into dung, and the car’s demise off the edge of a cliff. WILD.
Read: Career Girl in the Country by Fiona Lowe
‘Have to pretend to be a couple’ cliché
I acknowledge this cliché is used in practically EVERY rom-com. But isn’t it so much fun??! Amy Adams and Matthew Goode end up having to spend the night at a B&B but the owner will only let them share a room if they’re married (wildly problematic right there…but it leads to fun sexual tension so I’ll allow it as a plot device). It’s very much a scene from a Mills & Boon novel as they share a first kiss over dinner (for some reason this horny B&B owner loves watching their guests kiss??), lustfully watch each other’s silhouettes showering and have to share a teeny tiny bed all night….
Yes, it’s trash. I LAPPED IT UP.
Read: Only For Show by Charlotte Marigold
Sofia Beaumont and Roberto Conti’s relationship is only for show – a twisted fairytale manufactured for the Italian tabloids. But when the reclusive chocolatier unites with her family’s CEO playboy nemesis their sizzling chemistry is blatantly real. To Sofia’s alarm, her faux boyfriend is a seductive wolf in smoking hot sheep’s clothing; in Roberto’s embrace she’s in danger of losing all her senses.
Another rom-com cliché. But isn’t it so much fun to watch a couple bicker, banter and shamelessly flirt their way to romance? Amy Adams’s Ann and Matthew Goode’s Declan initially despise each other, mainly because he mocks her incessantly for her desire to get engaged, and to be fair, she is WEIRDLY fixated on engagement. But all this fighting means the sexual tension is OFF the charts. Also, fun to watch!
Read: The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
A wedding planner left at the altar Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.
Post the delightfully sweet musical rom-com Enchanted, pre the deeply disturbing psycho-drama Sharp Objects; this was prime Amy Adams rom-com time. And she is a goddamned DE-LIGHT to watch in this movie! Honestly every movie is improved with the presence of Amy Adams.
The lush green rolling hills, the quaint cobbled villages, the COWS!
BRB booking trip to Ireland.
Read: The Homestead on the River by Rosie Mackenzie
From the vibrant colours of India to the meadows of Ireland to the harsh but beautiful Australian land, a family fight for their future.
Conceptually problematic… but the romance is actually SO DAMN CUTE
So, the conceit of the film is that all women are inherently desperate to get engaged, even if their boyfriends are complete duds. Also, even though they are all SO desperate, women have to wait for their partner to propose, because a woman could NEVER ask her boyfriend EXCEPT on this one day once every four years! It’s a real sexist premise.
However, Anna and Declan’s romance is really really cute. They have great, deep and meaningful conversations, AMAZING sexual chemistry, and he respects her WAY more than her boyfriend Jeremy. PLUS, at the end of the movie she proposes to him! (Although this is promptly negated when he turns around and proposes right back to her). Even so. It’s very sweet.
In conclusion. Yes, Leap Year is an imperfect movie. In fact, at points, is it deeply stupid.
Buuuuuut…. maybe it’s the perfect movie to watch once every four years. Just for fun?
Also for Matthew Goode.