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Directed by George Clooney
A romantic comedy set against the backdrop of America's nascent pro-football league in 1925. Dodge Connolly is a charming, brash football hero who is determined to guide his team from bar brawls to packed stadiums. But after the players lose their sponsor and the entire league faces certain collapse, Dodge convinces a college football star to join his ragtag ranks. The captain hopes his latest move will help the struggling sport finally capture the country's attention.
Leatherheads is by no means a disaster, it's just uneven. No film in the last few months have I look forward to more than this movie. My expectations were high as I have enjoyed the last two George Clooney directed films and have always been a fan of new screenwriter Rick Reilly who has been a longtime columnist for Sports Illustrated.
The problem with this film is that is tries to be a lot of things at once. At its heart it's a romantic comedy, but it also tries to be a football history film too mixed with a football star's sketchy past. The story's tone shifts, as it moves from the quick-witted banter between Dodge (George Clooney) and Lexie (Renée Zellweger) to the semi-serious handling of Carter's (John Krasinski) backstory, with the comical game re-enactments sandwiched in between.
Still, Leatherheads has its charms - most of them Clooney's, as he again embodies the definition of what a man is: The guy other guys want to be, and women want to be with. He's a movie star playing a movie star's role. You just wish he would of let a professional writer take another stab at the script and perhaps not spread himself too thin and direct the film himself. Another small point is the young football star played by The Office's John Krasinski. His acting is fine but unfortunately the writers forgot to give him a character. All we know about him is that he is hiding something and that he's a really good football player. His character seems to be there solely for the purpose to push the plot forward. When we leave him for the final time on the football field, we really feel indifferent about him. Hard to care about someone we really don't know that well.
So as of this writing there still hasn't been a good football movie since 1978's North Dallas Forty. In 30 years there has been almost two dozen great baseball films. Makes you wonder why football is so hard to do.