Successful real estate stager Anna Brady (Amy Adams) is frustrated that her cardiologist boyfriend Jeremy Sloane (Adam Scott) still has not proposed to her after four years. She decides to travel from Boston to Dublin, to propose to him on February 29, leap day, while he is there at a conference. Anna wishes to invoke an Irish tradition that a man who is proposed to on leap day must accept the proposal. During the flight, a storm diverts the plane to Wales, where Anna hires a boat to take her to Cork. The severity of the storm, however, forces her to be put ashore at Dingle, where she makes her way to Caragh's Tavern. Anna tries to enlist the help of Declan O'Callaghan (Matthew Goode),the surly Irish innkeeper. She requests him to taxi her across the country to Dublin. At first he refuses, but after his tavern is threatened with foreclosure, he agrees to drive her for €500. The two set out in his old beat-up car. Along the way, he makes fun of her fancy Louis Vuitton luggage, which he calls "Louie". He also mocks her belief in a leap year "tradition" of women proposing to men.
Their travel is interrupted by a herd of cows blocking the road. After attempts to move the animals Anna tries to clean her expensive shoes by leaning on the car. This causes it to roll downhill into a stream. Continuing on foot, Anna flags down a van with three ne'er-do-wells who offer her a lift. Ignoring Declan's warning, Anna accepts the ride and hands them her luggage. Before she can enter the van, they drive off without her. Anna and Declan eventually make their way on foot to a roadside pub, where they discover the three van thieves going through Anna's luggage. Declan fights them and retrieves Anna's bag. Anna and Declan are ejected from the pub by the owner.
Anna and Declan reach a railway station and decide to wait for the next train. While waiting, they hike up a hill to the ruins of a nearby castle. They ask each other what they would grab if their homes were on fire and they had only 60 seconds to flee. Declan also tells her of an old Irish legend about a woman promised to a lord she did not love, who gave her wedding guests a sleeping potion so she could run away with the man she does love. During the the story telling they lose track of time and miss the train. That night they stay at a bed and breakfast, where they pretend to be married, taking the name "O'Bradycallaghan," They do this so that their conservative hosts will allow them to stay. During dinner, when the other couples kiss to show their love, Anna and Declan are "forced" to kiss as well. This stirs feelings that each had not expected. That night, they sleep in the same bed, but do not admit their feelings for each other.
The next day on the road, during a hailstorm Anna and Declan take shelter at a church where a wedding is taking place. During the reception, Anna drinks too much and realizes she loves Declan. Anna begins to question her own intentions with Jeremy. Just as the two are about to kiss, Anna vomits and passes out. The following morning while waiting for a bus, Declan reveals to Anna that he was once engaged but his fiancé ran off to Dublin with his best friend and his mother's claddagh ring. Anna encourages him to get his ring back. When they arrive at Jeremy's hotel in Dublin, Jeremy surprises her and proposes to her in the lobby. After hesitating, she accepts. A dispirited Declan walks away.
At their engagement party in Boston, Anna learns that Jeremy decided to "commit" to her only in an effort to impress the manager of the expensive condominium the two were attempting to buy. Dismayed, Anna pulls the fire alarm and waits 60 seconds. Jeremy shows no concern for her instead he grabs all of his electronics. In that 60 seconds Anna realizes that there is nothing in the apartment that means anything to her. Meanwhile in Dublin, Declan retrieves his mother's ring from his ex-fiancé.
Sometime later, Anna arrives back at Caragh's Tavern at Dingle, where Declan is successfully running his business. She reveals to him that she has broken off her engagement. She tells him that all she needs is right here. When she proposes that they get together, Declan leaves the room. Thinking that she's been rejected, Anna rushes outside and makes her way to the edge of a nearby cliff overlooking the sea. Declan follows and surprises her with ......"Mrs. O'Brady-Callaghan, where the hell are you going?" He then gets down on one knee and proposes to Anna, offering her his mother's claddagh ring. Anna accepts, and the two kiss and embrace.Amy Adams as Anna Brady
Matthew Goode as Declan O'Callaghan
Adam Scott as Jeremy Sloane
John Lithgow as Jack Brady, Anna's father
Kaitlin Olson as Cailey
Noel O'Donovan as Seamus
Tony Rohr as Frank
Pat Laffan as Donal
Alan Devlin as Joe
Ian McElhinney as Priest
Peter O'Meara as Ron
On October 17, 2008, it was announced that Amy Adams was to star in the film as Anna Brady. On November 23, Anand Tucker signed on to direct the film, with Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan collaborating on the screenplay. On February 12, 2009, it was announced that Matthew Goode would be playing the role of Declan O'Callaghan, the surly innkeeper. On March 18, it was announced that Adam Scott was to play Jeremy Sloane, Anna's long time boyfriend, and that Kaitlin Olson would play Libby, Anna's best friend. The film was shot in County Wicklow, Dublin, County Mayo and County Galway, with filming taking place in and around the Aran Islands, Connemara, Temple Bar, Georgian Dublin, Wicklow National Park and Olaf Street, Waterford. On October 19, it was announced that Randy Edelman had been chosen to compose the film's film score. The decision to choose Edelman came as a surprise, as Tucker had used Barrington Pheloung for two of his previous films, Hilary & Jackie and When Did You Last See Your Father?.
An audio CD soundtrack for Leap Year was released on the Varèse Sarabande record label on January 12, 2010. That album contains only the original score, composed and conducted by Randy Edelman. The musical selections that were used, and credited at the end of the film are not, available on CD. Those include:"More and More of Your Amor" by Nat "King" Cole (Bitter:Sweet's production released 2009)
"I Want You" by Kelly Clarkson
"I'll Tell My Ma" by the Colonials featuring Candice Gordon
"The Irish Rover" by the Colonials featuring Candice Gordon
"Day to Day" by Eulogies
"Waltz with Anna" by the Brombies
"Patsy Fagan" by Dessie O'Halloran and Sharon Shannon
"Within a Mile of Home" by Flogging Molly
"Buffalo Gals" by the Brombies
"A Pint for Breakfast" by the Brombies
"Leaping Lizards" by the Brombies
"The Staunton Lick" by Lemon Jelly
"Dream a Little Dream" cover by Cass Elliot
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart" by Gwyneth Herbert
"Never Forget You" by Noisettes
"You Got Me" by Colbie Caillat, over the closing scene/credits
"Just Say Yes" by Snow Patrol, used in the trailer
The film opened at the American box office at number 6, with a modest US$9,202,815, behind blockbusters Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, as well as Daybreakers and It's Complicated. The film's final gross of US$25,918,920 in the United States against a production budget of US$19,000,000. In addition to this, the film made US$6,688,396 in international markets, for a final worldwide gross of US$32,607,316.
Leap Year was released on DVD in the United States on May 4, 2010. It debuted at number 4 on the American DVD rentals chart, with a first week rental index of 56.63. It placed 5th on the DVD sales chart, selling an estimated 159,843 units, and has sold almost 800,000 units in total to April 2013.
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 21% of 127 critics have given the film a positive review. The site's general consensus is that: "Amy Adams is as appealing as ever, but her charms aren't enough to keep Leap Year from succumbing to an overabundance of clichés and an unfunny script'." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean score out of 0–100 reviews from critics, has given the film a rating score of 33 based on 30 reviews.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times described Leap Year as a 'full-bore, PG-rated, sweet rom-com'. 'It sticks to the track, makes all the scheduled stops, and bears us triumphantly to the station'. Also, Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B- stating that the film could have used more 'pizazz'.
A. O. Scott of The New York Times saw it as 'so witless, charmless, and unimaginative, that it can be described as a movie only in a strictly technical sense'. Richard Roeper gave it a C-, stating that it had a 'Recycled plot, lame sight gags, Leprechaun-like stock Irish characters,' adding that 'The charms of Amy Adams rescue Leap Year from Truly Awful status'.
Donald Clarke of The Irish Times gave the film one star out of five, and in a scathing review, described it as 'offensive, reactionary, patronising filth' and cited the film as evidence that 'Hollywood is incapable of seeing the Irish as anything but IRA men or twinkly rural imbeciles'. Matthew Goode, who co-stars in the film, admitted 'I just know that there are a lot of people who will say it is the worst film of 2010' and revealed that the main reason he signed on to the project was so that he could remain close to home and be able to see his girlfriend and newborn daughter.