Blu-ray
Good Disc, Bad Flick
2 stars
Overall Grade
2 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
0.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
4 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4 Stars
Supplements
0.5 Stars
High-Def Extras
0.5 Stars
Bottom Line
Good Disc, Bad Flick

Leap Year

Street Date:
May 4th, 2010
Reviewed by:
Nate Boss
Review Date: 1
May 4th, 2010
Movie Release Year:
2010
Studio:
Universal
Length:
100 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Call me crazy, but I don't think it matters who proposes to whom. Not where. Not when. Steve could propose to Bob on their first date if he so well chooses. Bob can pop the question to Julia on their eighth anniversary, if it took him that long to decide what's right for him (and after that detour with Steve, one might see why he's taking his time). The funny thing is, Julia could have done the same, if she so well pleased. Proposed, I mean, not the whole Steve thing...though she might find Steve an attractive option, perhaps. There's nothing wrong, shameful, disgraceful, off putting, or unromantic about a woman proposing. After all, most proposals come after some discussion on the subject, so it usually isn't just out of the blue; it's been broached, it's fair game.

But not everyone shares in the equal rights beliefs as much as I do, apparently, and I can see some men seeing a woman proposing to be clingy, pushy, impatient, or all of the above. Tradition says it's the man's job. Tradition, that is, except for one magical day. A day so magical that it only appears every four years. That's right, the opening ceremony for the Olym....wait, no. February 29. Apparently, there's an Irish tradition of some sort that says it's acceptable for a woman to propose marriage to a man on that day.

For those of you keeping score at home, that's 1 out of every 1461 days, or 0.00068% of the time. A man with commitment issues clearly came up with this little clause.

After four years of relationship purgatory with Jeremy (Adam Scott), Anna (Amy Adams) has gotten her hopes up, hearing from a friend that she caught Jeremy coming out of a jewelry store. After receiving sparkly new earrings (and being about the most unappreciative giftee in history), Anna must mope about and wait some more, instead of just withholding sex like anyone in her position would do. Then, with Jeremy heading off to Dublin for a work convention, Anna gets the wild idea to meet him there and propose to him!

After arriving in Ireland, with nothing but bad weather greeting her and impeding her easy passage, Anna hires Declan (Matthew Goode, who played Ozymandias in 'Watchmen,' so he can't be trusted...), an anti-social pub/hotel owner with a mysterious past concerning his relationships, to guide her from Dingle to Dublin in time to pop the question. The pair clash at every turn, and setbacks await around every corner. But there's something else waiting around the corner, something even more magical than love. It's name is...

The ability to turn the damn film off before wasting any more of your precious life watching this predictable pile of putrid acting, ridiculous cliches, and overcomplicated plot devices that make you want to seek out Deborah Kaplan and Herry Elfont, the writers of this unholy atrocity, and demand that they entertain you by juggling running chainsaws. One is then presented with a wonderful win-win situation: either you get to watch the most amazing beginner's luck in history, or you get to watch a bloody mess of sado-massachism that results in said two writers being physically incapable of ever penning another screenplay.

That may sound like a bit much, but that's the lesser of two evils that I would have plotted for those behind 'Leap Year.' The other involved tools and methodologies that would help investigators connect me to a string of unsolved murders committed in Sheboygan last year. But enough about that...

Let's take the rest of this review to try to make me look a bit less psychotic, and explain my sudden blood lust. The entire film is so horribly, and obviously, telegraphed, that a copy of the screenplay (probably written on a napkin) should have been included with this release. We meet the girl, then we meet her father (John Lithgow), who meets her for drinks and just so happens to spell out the entire Irish leap year proposal tradition. Then we never see her father again! Perhaps Mr. Lithgow realized the harm he had already done. So anyway, after being disappointed by a ridiculously expensive gift, losing all audience sympathy whatsoever by being an utter spoiled brat who just cannot explain what she wants, and playing games like a damn child, we are then greeted by the exact same sales pitch Lithgow bombed us with, this time argued in a pub. Apparently, the first time wasn't enough, we have to hear the whole mess again. Apparently, the writers felt anyone watching these films are mouth-breathing neanderthals, who must be reminded of each and every plot device every five minutes.

Alright, so now we flash forward to a plane trip. A plane trip that gets detoured by bad turbulence and weather. There never was any real warning about said issues arising, of course, until the captain mentioned them over the loudspeaker. Within a second, the plane was shaking like a battery powered...personal massager, of some sort. Oh, that zany captain!

Next, we get the "meet-ugly." In cinema, a "meet-cute" is when two characters are brought together by unusual or silly circumstances, with potential embarrassment that endears them to each other. 'The Holiday' is a beautiful example of how to do one correctly (even if it's a ghastly film). I say "meet-ugly," as these characters are at each other's throats from the start, to the point that you want to see them bust out the cutlery and just have at it. They are so ugly to each other, that beyond knowing they'll fall madly in love with each other, it just becomes painful to watch.

Moving on, we are exposed to the random stereotypical sayings, expressions, and general drunken behavior of the Irish, and the culture shock poor Anna has in this land. Declan doesn't lift a finger to help her, until he sees hooligans fooling around with the clothing in her luggage that they stole from her. Apparently he zoomed in, saw her bra size, and decided he wanted a piece of that. Sir Chivalry decides to take over for Captain Jack Ass, and for no reason, Declan decides he loves Anna. So now, we get a love-hate relationship, and see them hurt each other. Gee, that makes for a great viewing experience, watching people be utterly hideous and cruel.

Fate then takes over, and the pair must masquerade as a married couple to get a room. After see-through shower curtain shenanigans (don't get your hopes up, this one is very, very PG), Declan falls even more for her. At dinner, they encounter over-amorous couples staying at the same bead-and-breakfast that are so over the top they may as well be wearing bondage attire and inviting the duo to their room for a "swinger party." They have to fake a kiss to prove they're together, after all the other couples messily swap spittle, and suddenly, the flames of passion ignite. The flames that Anna gets none of from Jeremy. Moving forward, (Spoiler alert from here on out.) Declan gets Anna to Jeremy, Jeremy proposes, and the rest, well, if you've seen a single romantic comedy, you know what happens.

So why would Anna stay in a relationship that is so horribly unromantic that a kiss from a man she loathes gets her so hot that she tries to eat his pancreas through his mouth? Why wouldn't she just propose herself, bucking tradition, showing she's independent, and let Jeremy's actions, to accept or back away, speak volumes for their relationship? Simply put: material possessions. Anna is a pure consumer, really. She wants this new gaudy apartment, and has beyond expensive clothing and luggage. She knows her man can help provide her with all the riches she wants. With Declan, there's no financial security, as he's struggling to keep his pub afloat. Anything else wouldn't create disparity and choice, as Declan has to be the polar opposite of Jeremy for her to fall for him, too. The film has a message about material wealth being less important than love, but that gets bogged down in all the zany scenarios that the writers can imagine the characters in, obscured and abandoned, really. Anna's moment of realization that she picked the wrong guy? In her new apartment, in the only green room in the house. Gee, that's not a bit obvious.

Rather than harp on like an angry ex-boyfriend, it's time to put this review down. 'Leap Year' was awful. Goode made me want to punch him in the face with every line reading and expression, while Adams was just awful and screechy. The best depiction in the film, both in acting and in character development, belongs to Louis. Anna's luggage, a Louis Vuitton, which Declan calls Louis, like a person. If you want to see people go from mortal enemies to lovers in an hour flat, watch 'Leap Year.' Also, consult your doctor about mandatory sterilization, and/or taste implants. You can't go from appreciating Uwe Boll to Federico Fellini in two hours, flat.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Leap Year' arrives on Blu-ray with a VC-1 codec at 1080p in the wide 2.40:1 aspect ratio, with pretty damn good results. If every minor, run-of-the-mill film looked this good, there would be no reason for review sites...and that's a compliment...I think.

While character may be lacking in the film (get ready for a few more random knocks on the movie, as this one deserves it, folks), it most certainly isn't in the video. 'Leap Year' is gorgeous. It's full of beautiful landscapes, wonderful locations, and odd, quirky little knick knacks populating them, and the Blu-ray does a wonderful job with all of it. Detail is amazing, in both backgrounds and foregrounds. Clothing detail is superb, as the film feels very lived in, realistic, deep and textured. It's a real marvel, honestly. Black levels are accurate, and the picture is far from flat, leaping off the screen to the point that the mole on Adams' chin showed more growth than Adams' character. Skin tones are natural and distinct, and never influenced by their surroundings. In other words, superb.

Yet not all is perfect, but the gripes are somewhat minor, relatively speaking. There's an artifact or two to be found. Edge enhancement is very light, but just a smidge present; not enough to distract, but enough to notice without having to dissect the picture. Looped vehicular scenes stand out like sore thumbs due to the utterly dull backgrounds, that are aged like the effects in Harryhausen's 'Clash of the Titans.' Colors are occasionally off, but this may be a part of the film's natural aesthetic, as they're correct far more often than not. Torturous, this film may be, but enjoyable, this video is.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

Normally for romantic comedies of this sort, we get fairly bland audio mixes that are about as inspired as the script for a certain film called 'Leap Year.' However, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix here is engaging, warm, lively, and throws a few curves. It's unpredictable, charming, and compelling. That's six descriptions about the audio that cannot be said about the film!

Soundtrack elements leap through the speakers, constantly stimulating the room with sound. That said, it can overpower dialogue more than slightly in the opening scenes, before it kicks back a notch back into reality. Range is solid, particularly for a film of this ilk. Dialogue localizes on a few occasions, though it's used too sporadically to be anything but a minor perk, a "hey, that's coming from the rears!" moment, of sorts. There are moments here and there that fill the entire room, that are so perfect and fitting that they feel like blockbuster film sound design. Bass presence isn't a big component in the whole "rom com" genre (after all, there's no ominous foreshadowing, no jump scares, or beastly presences that demand roars to get the audience on edge), so the lack of thump is hardly a concern. Everything that is brought to the table in this sound mix is quite enjoyable. It's not demo material, by any means, but damn if it isn't a shining example of how good an unambitious film can sound.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

For the supplements package for 'Leap Year,' this reviewer had to dig deep and find a whole day to dedicate solely to the expansive plethora of extra goodness. From my waking hours to the minute I nodded off in my work chair, I dedicated my time to bring all of these engrossing extras to you, our readers. I hope my sacrifice is noted after realizing how much hard work this was...

  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 6 min) - The deleted scenes for 'Leap Year' are presented through a play all option only. Avoid!

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are four (count 'em, four) exclusives here, but they bring absolutely nothing to the table. Universal's requisite Social Blu and Pocket Blu features are prsent, allowing users more control and internet connectivity, on top of the BD-Live portal, which contains no exclusive content, so it may as well be BD-Dead, or at least, BD-Dead to me (you hear me, you're dead to me!). Worst of all, if you aren't signed on to BD-Live (after seeing the miniscule offerings, I logged off rather than just exiting), you're prompted, when playing the movie, to again log-in, so you can use Social Blu. I'm sorry, but I do not want my Blu-ray discs nagging me to use stupid features like that when I just want to play a movie. That's a wasted, unnecessary click, and quite bothersome. Lastly, viewers can Bookmark their favorite scenes, and share them on BD-Live. Wasted effort in this area, all around.

Final Thoughts

'Leap Year' is an ugly, ugly film. There's nothing original or enjoyable here. No one dies. Everyone should have. Sadly, I really enjoyed Goode in 'Match Point.' Now I want to accost him with a two-by-four while wearing blue tighty whities like I'm Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Universal did bring out the big guns, with great audio and video, but dropped the ball on the extras, which were as flat as the film. As much as I want to say avoid this one like the plague that it is, the technical portion of this disc has enough merit to garner the "good disc, bad flick" recommendation, but make no mistake. This is B-A-D, baaaaaaaaaaaad, so much so that you may need to take a shower when you're done. Don't say you weren't warned.

Also, one last SPOILER: He's on the freaking cover!!! You know he's going to get the girl, otherwise, why would he be on the damn cover!?!

Technical Specs

  • BD-50 Blu-ray Disc

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/VC-1

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 2.40:1

Audio Formats

  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Spanish DTS 5.1
  • French DTS 5.1
  • English DVS (Descriptive Video Service)

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH, Spanish, French

Supplements

  • Deleted scenes

Exclusive HD Content

  • BD-Live
  • My Scenes
  • pocket BLU
  • Social BLU

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