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"Leap Year" serves its purpose

The movie “Leap Year,” which opens January 8, is essentially a chick flick with enough humor to keep accompanying male viewers happy.

“Leap Year” stars Amy Adams as Anna Brady, a Boston woman who is successful in her business (decorating residences being shown) but who has failed to obtain a marriage proposal from Jeremy (played by Adam Scott), her boyfriend of four years.

Jeremy is professionally a cardiologist and departs for a conference in Dublin, Ireland, whereupon Anna’s father tells her of an Irish tradition that on February 29 - when Jeremy will be in the Emerald Isle - a woman in Ireland can propose to a man.

Anna’s Irish heritage has been limited to her last name and her red hair (Amy Adams is a natural blonde but has done well as a redhead in recent movies), but after Internet research confirms her father’s story she books a flight to Dublin.

A storm cancels all flights into Ireland and diverts the plane to Cardiff, Wales. No passenger ship is traveling to Ireland in such weather, but Anna eventually reaches a deal with a fisherman to take her to Ireland in his boat. The fisherman drops Anna off on the Irish coast before returning to Wales.

Dublin, it should be noted, is on Ireland’s east coast but is latitudinally in central Ireland. Wales is east of Ireland, but Cardiff is on the Welsh south coast. Anna finds herself not in Dublin but rather in a small Irish town where train and bus service were discontinued long enough ago that nobody remembers exactly when. She finds refuge in the pub and hotel, where Declan (played by Matthew Goode) makes it clear that a difference exists between cosmopolitan Dublin and the heart of Ireland.

Declan is also the local taxi driver, and although he has no desire to drive to Dublin, the pub is struggling financially and Anna is willing to pay him enough to make the journey. Declan’s old Renault isn’t as cooperative, but Declan holds true to his promise to take Anna to Dublin.

Anna thinks that Declan is somewhat crude. Declan, meanwhile, isn’t impressed by Anna’s $600 shoes or her Louis Vuitton luggage and considers her profession, which involves furnishing homes or apartments for sale and then removing those amenities, to be the equivalent of a con artist. Although Declan has a tough outer shell, Anna eventually sees his performance in clutch situations.

“Leap Year” is a story about a necessity of a relationship – how one reacts when something is of importance to the other person. It is primarily a relationship and romance movie. The humor includes a significant amount of slapstick, which should placate husbands, boyfriends and parents.

There is some profanity in the movie but almost non-existent sexual humor. It’s about love, not about sex or even lust. “Leap Year” has a straight PG rating, not a PG-13 designation.

“Crude” can mean obsolete as well as obscene, and the contrast between Ireland’s rustic countryside and its European-mentality capital is demonstrated, but is done in a way without demeaning the heart of Ireland. Irish-Americans will not be offended by the film.

As for those who are not Irish, or whose Irish heritage is comparable to that of Anna prior to her trip, knowledge of Irish culture is not necessary to understand the film fully. Irish customs referenced in the film are explained while Irish slang and Gaelic phrases are limited.

“Leap Year” isn’t a likely Oscar nominee or future genre classic. But the movie, which to a great extent is about coming through when in need, fulfills its niche purpose.

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