There is one moment of hope in Leap Year, and it comes near the end of the movie, after the idiot lead character, Anna (Amy Adams) faces a severe disappointment in a small Irish town, then high-tails it to a jagged cliff. It’s here that hope finally arises that Anna will come to her senses and live up to the title by taking a header off the cliff in an effort to atone for her sins of being the stupidest idiot alive and leading the audience through 90 minutes of her drudgery-inducing hunt for someone, anyone — maybe even any thing — to marry her.
This woman is so obsessed with marriage, she’ll go anywhere and spend any amount of money in order to get it. This is because she’s all too aware of the Wikipedia-backed facts that marriage provides instant happiness to people who hate themselves and that if you’re a woman and you’re not married that means you’re ugly, because all the pretty girls know how to land themselves a man. Anna, though, is determined to prove that her ugliness is only of the inner variety, and that she boasts enough of a pleasing facade to trick some poor sap into signing his life away and suffering at her whiny, narcissistic, vehicle-destroying side.
The film starts off with Anna crushed that her pointy-faced cardiologist boyfriend (Adam Scott) tried and failed to get her to break up with him. That must have been what he was trying to do, right? Why else would he have told her to expect something special at a dinner date, then handed her a ring-sized jewelery case that contained earrings instead of the engagement ring she thirsts for?
Undeterred, Anna chases the boyfriend to Dublin, Ireland, where he is no doubt attending a conference that advises poor doctors how to make ends meet under the burdens of socialized medicine. It’s there that she’ll propose to him on Leap Day of some unspecified non-2010 year. Because according to “Irish Tradition” — meaning the lies of this stupid movie plot — it’s OK for a woman to propose to a man on Feb. 29. This makes Feb. 29 the most terrifying of all days, and is a prime reason Irish dudes spend all day inside watching soccer. It isn’t because they like the sport, but because they’re terrified of freak shows like Anna attempting to hunt them down.
Weather delays and a flight diverted to Wales, followed by a ferry to a tiny Irish town, make it tough for Anna to get to Dublin, so she meets and falls in love with the first random dude she finds — an unshaven, grouchy barkeep played by Matthew Goode who says he’ll drive her there for 500 Euros. Or, the equivalent of $10 million dollars, a price to which Anna immediately agrees. Anything to keep a man at her side as a backup plan in case her boyfriend, the bus driver and the Blarney Stone all turn down her marriage proposals.
What follows is a prolonged sequence of sex-free prostitution with a gradual Stockholm Syndrome result in which the paid captive played by Goode gradually sympathizes with his cruel captor’s sinister demands.
Don’t worry, I won’t give away the ending. You won’t hear it from me whether or not Anna jumps at the cliff or turns around to be swept up by Goode in an embrace of doom. But I will say this: Just once, Hollywood, could you give us a happy ending?
Starring Amy Adams, Matthew Goode and Adam Scott. Written by Deborah Kaplan and Hary Elfont. Directed by Anand Tucker. Rated PG. 97 minutes.
Phil Villarreal’s humorous money-saving book Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel is available on Amazon.