Leap Year directed by Anand Tucker:
There is no point complaining that all romantic comedies are formulaic. That is the nature of the beast and you either like it or lump it. For me, complaining about it would be akin to being married to a sports star (Hello, Tiger Woods) and being surprised when he cheated on me. Some things just are, people!
Director Anand Tucker (Hilary and Jackie, Shopgirl) does nothing to revolutionize the romantic comedy genre with his latest film, “Leap Year”. He goes with it and creates a light, funny picture that you will enjoy while watching it then probably remember nothing about a month later.
The gist of the story is that Anna (Amy Adams), an uptight, super organized girl, is tired of waiting for her long-term boyfriend, Jeremy (Adam Scott), to propose to her so she heads on over to Dublin, Ireland to meet him and propose to him on February 29th. Anna’s father (John Lithgow) has long told her about how her grandmother proposed to her grandfather on Leap Day in accordance of an old Irish tradition that says once every four years on the last day of February it is okay for women to propose to their boyfriends.
While on a plane to Dublin, a storm diverts her plane to Wales and the weather continues to cause trouble for her as she tries to get out of Wales and into Ireland. A tugboat captain takes her across but leaves her in the small town of Dingle. At the seemingly only inn/pub in Dingle she gets the runaround from the patrons in the bar and even the owner, Declan (Matthew Goode).
Just when it seems like Anna will never be able to get to Dublin in the two days she has left, Declan changes his mind and agrees to driver her to Dublin. In financial trouble Declan is interested in the 500 Euros Anna is offering to whomever drives her. What should be a 5 hour drive turns into a two day nightmare due to cows crossing the road, a castle tour, the car crashing, and missing a train. It seems like everything is conspiring to keep Anna from proposing to her man, but during the ordeal it looks like maybe he isn’t really the man for her.
The film has plenty of heart, beautiful scenery and more than a few laughs. I thought while watching it that Amy Adams is one of the more likeable actresses working today. She lights up the screen whenever she is on it. Even though her character is completely anal you still end up liking her because of Adams. The beautiful scenery and the laughs come because of the setting – Ireland. The film captures the beauty – rugged and spectacular – very well and the people who are just too funny! The locals are more fun than a barrel of monkeys and charming to boot!
There is nothing in the film that you haven’t seen. You think to yourself “Yeah, yeah, they hate each other in the beginning – real opposites, but I know they will end together by the end of the film”. But it is come back to time and time again simply because people like it. Hollywood would not keep going back to that well if it was dry.
I also enjoyed it because it does not stoop to the lowest common denominator as many films seem to do today. Once again, it is a fun and sweet watch.
Love Happens directed byBrandon Camp:
This adult oriented romance film is not your typical romantic comedy. Actually there is very little comedy to be found. It is filled with serious undertones as it deals with the death of loved ones. It touches on new love, old love, relationships with your in-laws, and the loss of a child. As you can tell this is a more realistic twist on the usual romantic film. And while I will not shout about it from the hilltops it was an enjoyable diversion.
Burke Ryan (Aaron Eckhart) is a motivational speaker who talks about dealing with the loss of a loved one. His own wife (Michelle Harrison) died in a car accident three years ago and so he wrote a self-help book about moving on from death that became a best-seller. Burke and his agent/best friend Lane (Dan Fogler) are hosting a conference in Seattle and in the middle of negotiations for a huge multi-media deal to get his own syndicated talk show and DVD release.
The ironic thing about it all is that Burke himself has not moved on. He has not dated anyone since his wife’s death and really just has his work. Hiding his pain has become something he is an expert at. He drinks Grey Goose vodka in private, but only tomato juice in public. He has never even spoken to his in-laws since his wife’s death. Burke is just existing and not really “living”.
His coasting through life seems to come to a crashing halt when he meets the free-spirited Eloise (Jennifer Aniston). Eloise owns her own flower shop and has just ended another in her long line of dysfunctional relationships. They meet par hazard at the hotel in which Burke’s conference is being held. Although the beginning is bumpy, to say the least, they soon develop an attraction. The question becomes whether these two lost souls can help heal each other.
Though there is some romance involved in the film the chemistry between Eckhart and Aniston is not the greatest nor is it bad enough to ruin the film. It just could be better. The two leads do not quite create sparks nor does the attempt at sadness within the plot bring you to tears. Despite the problems with the story each of the two leads does have their moments. Aniston is solid, but is not stretching her acting muscles as she is basically playing herself – as a florist. Eckhart has a kind of natural charm about him that sometimes manages to outshine the plot problems and clichés.
It is a strange or different kind of film and despite its problems or maybe because of them, it is hard not to like this film. The film is likable, the characters are for the most part relatable and, other than the constant rain, Seattle looks like a beautiful city. Still you leave thinking that the film did not live up to its potential. With two incredibly likable actors you should have liked the film a lot more.
-Giving Romance a New Look