Leap Year

 

Universal Studios

 

PG

 

Plot Summary: A woman travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on a leap year, but instead meets with much adventure and a tall dark Irishman.

 

Reason for the Rating: Sensuality and language

 

According to an old Irish tradition, on February 29th of a leap year, women can propose to men. Uptight and career-driven Anna (Amy Adams) has been expecting her boyfriend of four years to propose, but with no luck. Now that they are planning on buying and apartment together, she is especially hoping for that sparkly ring. But all she gets is a pair of earrings.

 

So, just like her great grandmother did, Anna decides to propose marriage to her boyfriend on the leap year, spontaneously jumping a plane to Ireland where her boyfriend is at a conference.

 

Of course, it’s never that easy, and she runs into many barriers along the way, such as closed airports, dangerous ferries, a herd of cows, and a brooding Irishman, Declan (Matthew Goode). Though they quickly decide they hate each other (as all romantic comedy leads must), Declan agrees to usher her on her stiletto-heeled way across the beautiful, but apparently difficult to traverse, Irish countryside.

 

They encounter many of the improbable but clichéd misadventures one expects in romantic comedies, such as having to pretend to be married (and subsequently kiss and spend the night together), getting stuck in a storm at a romantic castle, and, of course, becoming inextricably bonded with one another along the way.

 

There aren’t any surprises here. The movie follows the predictable plot of a romantic comedy, but that’s not so bad if you like that kind of thing. (And, lucky for the moviemakers, young romantic girls do like that kind of thing.) The characters are reasonably likable, and the scenery of rural Ireland is beautiful.

 

The movie unfortunately leans on the overused conflict of a pre-existing boyfriend or fiancé to advance the tension, which is singularly unromantic when one thinks about it and reinforces our society’s flippant attitude toward “light cheating” in honor of “following one’s heart.” And the viewer is left not quite sure of what exactly Declan and Anna see in one another, other than the obvious reason that most people would fall for a gorgeous redhead or handsome Irishman if forced to sleep in the same bed as them.

 

Except for a few scenes of sensuality and some language, leap year is relatively clean and relatively (if predictably) fun. It’s your average romantic comedy, and if that’s what you’re looking for, this will do just fine. As appropriate, use the movie to discuss with your teenage girls issues such as what to look for in a mate, how to go about finding a mate, and even the popular habit of living together before marriage.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie.

 

• What would your ideal proposal look like?

 

• What do you think of the idea of women proposing to men on a leap year?

 

• What are some of the things you think it is most important to find in your mate?

 

--AV

 

Note: All movie-related graphics in this column are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective movie studios. 

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