Leap Year: I'll take even disappointing genre schlock over romantic comedy pandering, although I may be powerless to resist Amy Adams—which is to say, this rom-com is already pandering straight to me by casting her. I won't be powerless to resist liking Leap Year, mind, but I may be powerless to resist seeing it, because I can still remember the days of 2005 when I had just seen Junebug and was hungry for more Amy Adams, all the time. I saw Enchanted, Julie & Julia, and Night at the Museum 2 for her; maybe it really will take a movie where she actually shrieks, mid-turbulence, about not dying before she can get engaged to break me of my illicit (yet quite cheery) habit. Speaking of irritation: this movie is about how Amy Adams travels to Ireland to propose to her slightly clueless boyfriend on February 29th because then and only then is it OK for a woman to propose marriage to a man rather than just hector/dither/whine about it—just as only this ridiculous contrivance can provide circumstance for a romantic comedy to be centered around a woman proposing to her boyfriend rather than vice versa. It's almost enough for me to organize a please-write-a-good-romantic-comedy-for-Amy-Adams contest.
Youth in Revolt: Another January surprise: long-delayed Youth in Revolt is getting good reviews, including a positive notice from our own Henry Stewart. Maybe it shouldn't surprise anyone, as the Weinstein brothers don't delay movies solely based on quality; they delay movies because frankly, they aren't very good at releasing more than two per year. Plus, the director is Miguel Arteta, who made Chuck & Buck and The Good Girl; Michael Cera is generally pretty hilarious; and Steve Buscemi is in it! What could go wrong? It's a January miracle!
Crazy on the Outside: Now this is more like it, January. Dumping a Tim Allen comedy, by which I mean a comedy starring and directed by Tim Allen, into a few hundred theaters when no one's paying much attention. That's how it's done! I'm not sure if anyone remembers this, but for a little while, Tim Allen was kind of a big deal movie star. They made three Santa Clause movies, after all. There is sort of an alternate-universe Tim Allen who voices Buzz from Toy Story and appears in oddball ensemble comedies like Galaxy Quest and Big Trouble and does self-mocking work in Redbelt. Maybe this Allen directed Crazy on the Outside; it's about a parolee adjusting to life outside of prison, rather than, say, adopting a crazy jungle orphan. I must say, I half-chuckled a few times at the trailer, which may constitute some sort of record for a non-ensemble Allen comedy. But mostly it looks like a slightly more grown-up, relaxed version of his Disney junk. I do wonder what renders this untouchable by any kind of wide-release arm; back in the early nineties, this could've gone out on a thousand screens maybe. The future is now, I guess.