Movie Review
Leatherheads poster
By Craig Younkin     Published April 5, 2008
US Release: April 4, 2008

Directed by: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney , John Krasinski , Renťe Zellweger , Stephen Root

PG-13 for brief strong language
Running Time: 114 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $31,199,215
As a director, Clooney brings a fun, airy tone to the movie, which almost makes up for the screenplay's near complete lack of jokes.
ďLeatherheadsĒ is a producers dream. On the one hand you have a story about the early stage of Pro-football to attract the guys and on the other you have one of those playful 1920ís romances where the characters do and say witty things, which Iím going to assume women dig. So the movie contains all the right ingredients. All that needs to happen now is the parts need to show up on the screen, but oddly enough, the movie underwhelms in both regards.

It starts out fairly well, mocking the early pro-football setup before agents, advertisers, and John Madden took over. The most memorable shot in the entire movie is a cow watching from the sidelines as a rag-tag group of men run back and forth chasing a little ball (and you only get one ball per game). Dodge Connolly (George Clooney) is the leader of these men, the Duluth Bulldog football team. Heís an old man, his glory days behind him but he stays in it because, like most of the other men on the team, these guys donít really have a lot of options and pro-football pays them almost in scrap.

The team is running out of money however, forcing Dodge to come up with a plan to put asses in the seats or else itís over. Enter Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski, The Office), a war hero and football star at Princeton whom Dodge pays a hefty sum of money to bring on to the Bulldogs. His star brings glamor and success to the franchise, but along with all that, he also brings Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger), a Chicago Tribune reporter trying to find out the real scoop on his so-called World War 1 heroism record.

As a director, Clooney brings a fun, airy tone to the movie, which almost makes up for the screenplay's near complete lack of jokes. And as an actor, he does well in the role of charming clown and Zellweger supports him nicely with a spirited and quick-witted performance. The screenplay on the other hand doesnít really work at all. There was a point half-way through where I just sat back and realized this movie really wasnít going anywhere. The story tries to shoehorn in a romance, a football movie, a movie about rules, a movie about the celebrity culture of the game, a lot of old-fashioned 1920ís verbal sparring, and a war story that may or may not be true into the same screenplay. There are a lot of ideas here and really thatís all they seem to be. Nothing really feels fleshed out.

After a promising start, the football scenes are few and far between, until we get to the ending where youíll see one of the most uninteresting and labored football games ever committed to film. And the romance never quite connects. I donít know if itís because the movie feels so PG or if itís because there is all this other stuff constantly in its way but the movie stifles itself and unfortunately after a certain point, it never recovers despite its starís best efforts.
Craig's Grade: C
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
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'Leatherheads' Articles
  • Lee's review B
    March 31, 2008    Has a lot of good chuckles, and some good laugh out loud moments. Clooney, basically playing himself, is a silly and snide football player who doesn't like doing anything by the rules. -- Lee Tistaert