Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Leap Year *
Director: Anand Tucker
Cast: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode
Adam Scott, John Lithgow, Kaitlin Olson
Why are current romantic comedies so chauvinist? Even if they pretend to be about strong, independent women who take the reins of their lives in the face of adversity (which usually comes in the shape of a charming, detestable and often sexy man who they inevitably fall for), the truth is that they serve only as vessels of pent up anger and extreme gender polarization.
In Leap Year, Amy Adams plays Anna, the control freak interior designer with an agenda: marry her boyfriend Jeremy (Scott).
When he presents her with a small jewelry box, before he parts on a business trip, she is sure he's finally proposing; but when the contents of the box reveal to be earrings, Anna takes charge.
She decides she will travel to Dublin and propose to him herself! After all an old Irish tradition establishes that it's acceptable for women to propose to men on February 29th.
So, not only is her empowerment limited by an ancient tradition that happens only once every four years (like presidential elections), it also forces her to act out of pure despair and surrender her self control to irrational behavior.
For starters, you never believe that someone like Anna would take on such an insane enterprise (especially when she's supposed to be on the hunt for a new upscale apartment) but also Amy Adams is just too likable for us to think she's a total bitch like the screenplay suggests.
Then again she obviously isn't flying to Ireland just to be with her boyfriend, she also is meant to meet, hate and then fall for an obnoxious local.
This time it's Declan (Goode) a pub owner who's a bit rough around the edges but has a killer smile and sensitive eyes that capture Anna's heart despite her original mission.
All along of course, it's the woman who seems indecisive, it's Anna who thinks of cheating and flirts with a handsome stranger while her boyfriend cures hearts (he's a cardiologist).
It's only when the movie's ready to give Anna a new male reason to live, that Jeremy's ugly nature begins to surface, but only when the movie's sure Anna will now have a new male figure to torment.
The film gives her a facile Freudian excuse by showing us a glimpse of her dad (Lithgow): an unstable, irresponsible man who made his daughter fear spontaneity and poverty; but when the movie suggests that Anna's materialism in a way will come bite her in the ass, you can't help but realize there's really no way this woman will be able to please this plot.