“Leap!” is the kind of movie where if you see someone holding a stack of dishes, they will certainly break in the name of a lazy comedic moment.
There seem to be two jobs classifications among the characters in this film: floor scrubber or full-time evil schemer. Historical accuracy? A character from the late 1800s wears jean shorts, while witnessing the simultaneous construction of the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty.
“Leap!” is set mostly at the Paris Opera Ballet, with dancers trying out for “The Nutcracker.”
The film begins horribly, with flatulence jokes and rote slapstick, as 11-year-old French dancer Felicie (voiced by Elle Fanning) and inventor Victor (Dane DeHaan) attempt to escape from their orphanage. The tired scenes only highlight the cut-rate animation.
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Once the pair arrives in Paris, the film improves. Felicie finds a hobbled but wise house cleaner named Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen). The girl and her mentor clash, then work together, trying to rise above their station during a time of marginalization of the poor.
It’s remarkable how much better “Leap!” is during these middle-of-the-movie scenes. The squalor and oppression of the time add real stakes, and the combination of a girl and ballet themes help mask that almost every sequence is borrowed from a better sports movie.
But even the moments of grace are eventually stained, by the bodily functions humor and flurry of pratfalls that are always around the corner.
Rated PG for some impolite humor, and action. 1:29. AMC Classic, Fayette, Frankfort, Georgetown, Hamburg, Nicholasville, Richmond.