American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Amy Adams and Matthew Goode have the charm necessary to float a romantic comedy like "Leap Year," and this is a story that needs their buoyancy. A sort of conspiracy forms between the audience and the screen: We know what has to happen, and the movie knows what has to happen, and the point is to keep us amused. "Leap Year" does better than that: It made me care. It does that by not being too obvious about what it is obviously trying to do.
Let's start off on the same page. A sweet but over-organized young woman named Anna (Amy Adams) has been dating a high-powered heart surgeon named Jeremy (Adam Scott) for four years. He's pleasant, attentive, presentable and shares her goal of buying a condo in the best building in Boston. He does nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong. For veteran filmgoers, he has one fatal flaw: He has a healthy head of hair, and every strand is perfectly in place. No modern movie hero can have his hair combed.
When, oh, when, will Jeremy ask Anna to marry her? After dashing her hopes yet again, he hurries off to Dublin for a cardiologists' convention, because as we all know, it's a professional necessity for cardiologists to meet in faraway places they're always wanting to go. Anna is told that in Ireland on Leap Day every four years, a woman can ask a man to marry her. Anna double-checks this on the Web, somehow not discovering that this is believed nearly everywhere, and if for instance a man on Denmark turned her down, he would have to buy her pairs of gloves.
Anna flies off to Ireland. The flight lasts only long enough for her to survive severe turbulence. The plane is diverted to Cardiff. Is anyone surprised that Anna doesn't arrive in Dublin on schedule? Despite canceled ferry boats, she makes her way to Ireland by hiring a tugboat. The skipper says they can't land at Cork but must head for Dingle. Dingle in Ireland is more or less as far as you can get from Wales (or Dublin), but never mind.