What lies at the other end of a rainbow? A bearded ginger leprechaun and his pot ‘o’ gold? Or a sexy 31-year-old Matthew Goode on one knee holding his mother’s wedding ring up to you? If it’s the latter, buy me some Lucky Charms, teach me some Gaelic and ship me to Dingle.
The 2010 rom-com “Leap Year” features Goode portraying a jaded Irish pub owner named Declan. He encounters a corporate fish-out-of-water named Anna (Amy Adams) who has her sights set on getting to Dublin and proposing to her equally corporate boyfriend of four years, Jeremy (Adam Scott). She intends to do it on Leap Day, an old Irish tradition of special-occasion-proposal-gender-role-reversal.
This film concocts an enemies-to-lovers narrative with arguably the most cliché ingredients imaginable. And guess what? I was still giggling and kicking my feet like a schoolgirl watching it unfurl. You’ve got your “there’s only one bed” trope, your “we missed the train,” your high heels stepping in cow crap, your lost luggage, your wrecked car, I could go on. There is just nothing like watching a rugged small business owner with an accent and a broken heart slowly open his mind to the idea of love again, as a corporate She-E-O disconnects from her BlackBerry and her douchey partner back home to find this mysterious man and new setting unlocking the real her. It never gets old.
So beyond the comfort of tried and true tropes, what makes this film worth the rewatch? Well, for one, we are in the merry month of March. It may not be a leap year this year, but Saint Patrick’s Day has just passed, and it’s bad luck to celebrate without watching a movie a week after your festivities. Or is it a week before? I am, in fact, jesting at the old Irishmen that bicker about the good or bad luck of starting a journey on a Friday versus a Saturday, or whether a magpie or a black cat means 10 or 15 years of bad luck, or any other superstitious lore they deem quarrel-worthy. My point is, nothing could have put me in the mood to pop open a Guinness for Saint Patrick’s Day more than “Leap Year” did.
It’s easy to compare rom-coms and slot them into categories of quality. But to me, that negates the beauty of what they have to offer. Sure, you can make a case for the elite nature of the timeless masterpiece “When Harry Met Sally.” You can reverently follow Meg Ryan through her classics, “Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “French Kiss,” and the list goes on. You can pedestal the triumphs of the early 2000s, from “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” to “She’s the Man,” to “The Holiday.” But appreciation of the greats does not a true rom-com lover make.
I persevered through the entire “Kissing Booth” trilogy. Why? Because as counterintuitive as it may seem, I enjoyed them. When I see a new brightly lit photo of a mischievous woman and a man with a derpy get-a-load-of-this-guy expression newly appear on my streaming services, I jump to press play on this unseen film that I have already seen countless variations of. More often than not, I am shockingly rewarded.
Pardon this soap box tangent, but what I’m trying to say is that “Leap Year” won’t change your life. You won’t see anything you haven’t seen before. You could probably write the script yourself. And that, my friend, is why it is so perfect. Romance and comedy don’t need robust cinematography. There doesn’t need to be a swelling soundtrack that wins an Academy Award. Actors don’t need to go into months of traumatic method acting. This is a genre that is fun for its cast and crew, and fun for its viewers. So go have yourself some fun, and watch “Leap Year.”
“Leap Year” is available to stream on Netflix.
By Risa Bolash