SPOILER ALERT: This post gives away the entire plot of the movie, such as it is. It will also make you not want to watch this movie – but kind of want to watch the movie, too.
Aside from being a snore-fest of a movie in which everyone in Ireland, except for the leading man, is a walking cliche, this has got to be the most geographically confused movie I have ever had the misfortune of laying my eyes on. The story follows Anna Brady (Amy Adams) who travels to Ireland in order to propose to her douchey cardiologist boyfriend (Adam Scott) on Leap Day because apparently that is the one day of the year that a man can’t say no to a woman’s proposal.
Aside from Boston being shot in Dublin which is not totally surprising as a cost saving measure, the geography of the movie is most ludicrous. Due to a storm and turbulence, Anna’s plane is forced to land in Cardiff, a tad unrealistic in the first place for a flight from Boston. From there she takes a little boat to Dingle. DINGLE. On the other side of the fucking country. And lands on a beach in this small boat. This beach is actually in Wicklow. And Dingle isn’t even shot in Dingle. Dingle is shot on Inis Mor on the Aran Islands. The spectacular cliffs of Dun Aengus also feature prominently.
From Dingle, Anna is driven by Declan (Matthew Goode – couldn’t find an Irish actor to play an Irish man again?), a publican/chef who is barely making ends meet and needs the five hundred bean that Anna is offering to get her to Dublin in time to propose to Douchologist. They travel from Dingle (Inis Mor) and encounter some cows (real life Connemara). Following some mishaps, they reach Tipperary (Wicklow mountains) and climb a hill to Ballycarberry Castle (fake castle played by the Rock of Dunamase in County Laois + a mighty amount of CGI). Most of the rest is filmed in the Wicklow mountains including the scene where they wait for the bus (Enniskerry) following the wedding they stumble across the night before (Glendalough). They are briefly seen walking through St Stephen’s Green (which is actually Stephens Green) before going to the Dublin hotel that Douchologist is staying at (which is actually in Maynooth for some reason).
At one point Anna is tricked by some lovable and well-spoken rogues in a high ace van (presumably a bastardized Hollywood version of tinkers whose default greeting is genuinely “top o’ the mornin’ to ya”) who then proceed to the nearest pub and have a pint with Amy Adams bra on their head and her luggage open on the table in front of them. So much about the movie makes no sense, it is laughable. Declan shows zero charm throughout and basically spends his time insulting Anna in a less than passable Oirish accent and watching as she falls foul of all the typical things that befall an rich American city girl who comes to Ireland. That doesn’t stop her from falling in love with him over the course of a couple of days and when things inevitably fall apart with Douchologist back in Boston, she returns to Dingle to Declan to seek out a relationship.
To end, Declan proposes to her on top of the cliffs of Dun Aengus using a Claddagh ring he gave to a previous fiancee. It doesn’t matter that she appears to have no discernible talent aside from staging apartments, a talent presumably with little demand in the sleepy little village of Dingle with its one pub and cliffs. Of course it does seem that he has managed to turn things around with pub in the (presumably) few days she was gone and he will probably be able to provide for her when she moves over to be with him. Transatlantic relationships are easy anyway so they can iron out all the little details during their engagement. They have taken a bus to Dublin together after all. What more does one need in order to know that they want to spend the rest of their lives together?
If we discount all of the rom-com bullshit and focus purely on the location issues, they were very easily remedied. Have her plane land in Shannon and take a bus by accident to Dingle instead of Dublin through some hilarious mix up with a cliched Irish man giving confusing directions that she follows badly. Or even if you are going with the ridiculous “taking a small boat from Cardiff” scenario, have her land in a small fishing village in Wexford and have the conference be in Belfast or Galway instead. So many easy ways around it.
TL;DR: This is a tragedy of a movie that even the Irish should be embarrassed by, but it is the sheer implausibility of the geography that really gets to me.
Fun Fact: Matthew Goode (Declan) said ‘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.
One More Thing: This movie makes Ireland look beautiful in February, so beautiful one might think it wasn’t shot in February, Y’know on account of all the leaves on trees and luscious grass everywhere.