Leap Year

AS IT’S awards season, we really should invent some sort of gong for the makers of this cosmically atrocious romcom

Directed by Anand Tucker. Starring Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott, John Lithgow. PG Cert, gen release, 100 min

AS IT’S awards season, we really should invent some sort of gong for the makers of this cosmically atrocious romcom. The Golden Moron? The Lobotomised Reactionary? Something like that.

Leap Yearmanages to be stomach-churningly offensive in two distinct fields. We have become used to the contemporary romcom reducing women to the status of 13th-century indentured serfs, but the attitudes here imposed on Amy Adams would seem unsophisticated to a lady sea slug.

Employed in some particularly revolting area of an upmarket estate agency, Adams, a prim New Yorker, is frustrated by her boyfriend’s refusal to propose marriage. Then, shortly after he heads to Dublin for work, her father reminds her of an ancient Irish custom that states that, on February 29th of a leap year, a woman can propose to a man.


Well, fancy that. Is Adams also allowed to walk the street unaccompanied on this day? Can she remove her muzzle? Does she get a day off from ritual caning?

Anyway, Amy heads to Ireland, but, after a terrible storm hits, finds herself directed to Wales. She secures a boat ride to Dingle – I know, I know, but geography is the least of our problems here – and, after hooking up with Matthew Goode’s bizarrely accented publican, begins making her way northwards.

How vile is the patronising portrayal of Ireland and its people in this wretched piece of cinematic ordure? Well, old men lean on walls and spout superstitious gibberish to anybody within earshot. Employees of the railway cast their eyes to heaven at the notion of trains on a Sunday. Landladies express disgust at the concept of unmarried couples attempting to secure a room.

Oddly, however, it is one tiny snatch of apparently insignificant dialogue that really burrows its way into the part of the brain that generates righteous anger. Yes. A minor character actually says “top of the morning to you”.

Let’s hope the team don’t chose to set their next picture in China. That nation might not take kindly to, say, Goode pulling his eyes back into slits and mouthing the words “Velly good. Velly good” at the love interest.

If a worse film is released this year I’ll eat my own weight in cuddly leprechauns. So I will. So I will.

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist