Leapin’ Leprechauns! (1995)


Oh, leapin’ Irish stereotypes! “Leapin Leprechauns!” from Charles Band studio Moon Beam is not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s probably the most baffling I’ve seen in a good while. The film takes literally a half hour to get the actual plot in motion, and we spend about twenty long minutes on a leprechaun council meeting where the leprechauns and fairies argue and bicker non-stop. As for a villain of the piece, we don’t meet the evil menace until there’s only ten minutes left in the actual movie. I couldn’t understand why the villain was introduced before the credits actually began, but the writers fails to muster up an interesting bad guy.

Especially with such a short time frame. Was the dad in the film the actual villain or did he just conjure the villains in the finale? In either case “Leapin Leprechauns!” is a pretty harmless and goofy film, but it can occasionally be vexing. For a film that’s barely ninety minutes in length it wastes a lot of time on needless filler and doesn’t make a lot of cases for the leprechauns as heroes. Often times when the grandfather, eccentric Michael shouts at the leprechauns time and time again as his family look on barely phased. Rather than, you know, running for their lives. The leprechauns can’t be seen unless you believe in them, so if you can’t rely on faith, you’ll basically just be watching someone talking to thin air and just hope they don’t try dissecting the cat at some point.

In either case while the film is partially about the leprechauns, I don’t think we needed to see a whole conference about the leprechauns and whether or not they should travel with Michael to see his family. We know they will, either way. Or else, we wouldn’t have a movie. The villain for a better portion of the movie is Michael’s son Johnny who devises a ruse to get his dad to visit so he can survey his land. Michael lives on a large hunk of land that Johnny wants to turn in to a theme park named Irelandland (ugh), and Michael won’t have any of it, no matter how much money Johnny throws at dad. Johnny even declares “This is my dream!”

Seriously? Turning Ireland in to a giant racial stereotype is your dream? Try finding an investor on that basis alone. Meanwhile, Michael spends most of his time trying to win over his snot nosed grand children and pretentious daughter in law, all of whom are misanthropic killjoys who’d rather learn than play horse shoes (the horror!). At one point Michael offers to play horse shoes with his grandson to which he replies “No thanks, that’s too low tech for my modern age.” Windows 95, bitch. Michael and his little people win over the kids eventually by endangering a school yard filled with children with sped up rides from the playground that send the kids flying and spinning horribly but never quite hurting themselves.

“Leapin’ Leprechauns” is a silly and just downright goofy movie with an ending that makes no sense. If Johnny is eventually won over by his dad’s leprechauns and becomes a tour guide leading tourists in to the sacred land to visit the attractions, didn’t Johnny technically get his wish of making a theme park? I won’t apply logic to what’s meant to be passable kids fare. Ted Nicolaou does a great job of filming Romania to look like both America and Ireland and creates a quick and passable bit of family entertainment that skirts racial stereotypes without being overly offensive. Nicolaou gets the job done when it comes to raking in genre films for Charles Band and his companies. It’s a grating bit of family fare, but it’s certainly not awful.