February 1, 2010

Weekend In Reviews

Leap Year - I'm going to have to break this review into two parts.

Part One: Why the premise of this movie pisses me off. Anna (Amy Adams) has been dating Jeremy (Adam Scott) for four years. They're buying an apartment together and they are equally anal retentive and un-fun, so they're perfect for each other on paper. She thinks he's finally going to propose to her but instead merely gifts her with a pair of diamond earrings. That's when her dad suggests that she take a cue from her grandmother and follow the old Irish tradition wherin on leap day (that is, February 29th of a leap year) women can ask men to marry them. So she flies off to Ireland to propose to Jeremy who is attending a conference in Dublin.

Here is where I break in to say that old tradition or no, I think it's complete horse shit to suggest that there is one day in four years when it's "ok" for a woman to propose to a man. I don't understand why women don't do the proposing a hell of a lot more often. It's a pretty common story for a woman to spend years dating a man and grow secretly more resentful by the minute because after X number of years, he still hasn't proposed. Well I say if you want to get married so damn bad, tell him! Ask him yourself! Why does the man have to do the asking? It's the 21st century for sobbing out loud! We don't get betrothed or come with a dowry and we don't have to wait for a man to think of it first. There shouldn't be any shame in a woman declaring to the man she loves that she'd like to marry him and spend the rest of her life with him. It's archaic and backward and sexist and stupid to suggest otherwise.

Weather and a series of stupid decisions waylay Anna in a small town on her way and she meets Declan (Matthew Goode), whom she hires to get her to Dublin. She tells Declan why she needs to get there so badly and he tells her that it's stupid because if Jeremy wanted to marry her, he'd propose to her.

I think that might be the worst argument for why women shouldn't propose to men that I've ever heard. Why doesn't anyone ever say to a man "if she wanted to marry you, she would have asked you already"? How can it no longer be ok to decree certain professions "man's work" or "woman's work" yet it's still alright to say that it's the man's responsibility to propose? If you're hungry, do you make yourself food or do you wait for someone else to get hungry and then have some of what they're having? Ladies - I'm telling you now, if you're sitting around desperate to wed your boyfriend and pissed he isn't asking? You're being ridiculous. Get off your ass and propose to your man, if he says no, then he doesn't want to marry you and wouldn't have asked you anyway. Now you know and you can move on with your life accordingly.

Part two: The infuriating set-up aside, what I thought of the movie. It goes without saying that Amy Adams is charming and adorable, but for the first half of this movie I thought this would be the first time I'd watch anything she did and not be taken with her character. Fortunately, there's a moment where she does turn a corner and loosen up and stop being so unlikable. Anna is a real estate stager. She's particular and persnickety with no sense of humor and a very up-tight, bitchy personality. Jeremy is just as humorless and persnickety and they have zero passion or chemistry in their relationship - kissing each other only on the cheeks and exhibiting not one sign that they want each other in the least. She isn't someone you really want to root for.

So when her flight to Dublin is diverted due to terrible weather and she ends up in Whales, selfishly insisting to the ticketing agents that it's unacceptable for her to wait until tomorrow for the next flight to Dublin, I was actively hoping that one of them would deck her. As it was, I was cheeringly pleased when they greeted her with sarcasm and snark, barely disguised with syrupy sweetness.

Well, God forbid she wait a day (despite the fact that it is, at this point, only February 25th), so while the rains come in a torrential fashion, she rents a car and drives to the coast to attempt to take a ferry to Ireland. There she's told that she'll have to wait until the weather clears up so she stubbornly sets out to find someone else to take her. She finds one person dumb enough to attempt and he is once again thwarted by the weather so he drops her utterly off-course at a small coastal village a day's drive away from Dublin. From there she finds a pub/restaurant/inn where she pops in to get a taxi.
Enter Declan, the owner of the establishment in question as well as the taxi driver. After some shenanigans, he agrees to drive her and they set out. One problem after another arises and while I'd expect him to leave her prissy, ungrateful ass on her own, he stays with her the whole way, and through their constant bickering and squabbling, they fall in love. I'm not spoiling anything because, isn't that the plot of every single rom-com ever?

I won't give away the end but I'll say that I would, in a hot second, dump Adam Scott (who, as Lynda pointed out, always plays complete tools) for Matthew Goode any day of the week. Shaggy and scraggly as he was, he was still a totally hot piece and I completely adore him.
While there is no passion or chemistry at all between Anna and Jeremy, there is quite a lot between Anna and Declan. He brings out her less up-tight side and she makes him slightly less gruff. When they kiss (a misunderstanding followed by a charade that was seriously ripped wholesale right out of Chasing Liberty, by the way), it's on the lips and you can tell they'd both like to rip each others clothes off. Not like when her and Jeremy kiss and it's clear they'd both like to check their blackberries.
Until she met up with Declan and they set out for Dublin together, I wasn't sure I liked this movie at all. But in the end, I enjoyed it. It isn't great cinema and isn't even a terribly terrific rom-com as that goes. But for me, it was like The Wedding Date - a sort of stupid movie that I love based entirely on the likability of the leading man, the fairytale of finding perfect love, and the sappy ending. I will probably buy this movie on DVD and watch it regularly back to back with Chasing Liberty.

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