A romantic comedy set against the backdrop of America's nascent pro-football league in 1925. Dodge Connolly, a charming, brash football hero, 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. Welcome to the team Carter Rutherford, America's favorite son. A golden-boy war hero who single-handedly forced multiple German soldiers to surrender in WWI, Carter has dashing good looks and unparalleled speed on the field. This new champ is almost too good to be true, and Lexie Littleton aims to prove that's the case. A cub journalist playing in the big leagues, Lexie is a spitfire newswoman who suspects there are holes in Carter's war story. But while she digs, the two teammates start to become serious off-field rivals ...Written by
Carter Rutherford is loosely based on the real life football star Harold 'Red' Grange. His agent in the movie, C.C. Frazier, is based on his real life agent C.C. Pyle. See more »
In the opening scene when Carter Rutherford scores a touchdown for Princeton he runs before a packed house. Yet, when he's mobbed after scoring, empty terraces can be seen behind the first few rows of fans. See more »
George Clooney's latest homage to the Golden Age of movies brushes ever so closely at times to the classic screwball comedies of the '30s and '40s, but falls short in both the carefree laughs and whimsical romance. No one else even tries though, so Clooney's efforts are much appreciated and do culminate in a fairly unique romantic sports comedy.
With the early days of professional football as a backdrop, a scandal, a romance, and a sport all begin to take shape in Clooney's ode to screwball comedy. Desperate to legitimize the sport he so loves, reckless Dodge Connelly (George Clooney) hatches a plan to bring college football superstar and American war hero Carter "The Bullet" Rutherford (John Krasinski) to his team of Duluth Bulldogs as well as the crowd of thousands that will follow. Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune assigns equally relentless reporter Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger) to uncover the truth behind The Bullet's wartime accomplishments and bring down his charade of heroism. Things get even more complicated when both Dodge and Carter fall for Lexie and the game of football must take a backseat to the game of love.
Clooney has all but nailed the performance of the male lead in the classic screwball comedy, however his supporters and the too-serious dilemmas detract from the presentation's overall mood. Clooney's wide-eyed, smooth-talking Dodge Connelly charms with his on-screen presence and go-getter charisma, but John Krasinski's Carter Rutherford rarely provides a worthy opponent. The prize, Renee Zellweger's Lexie Littleton, tries too hard to be the fast-talking, hard-edged businesswoman, and then never becomes one worth winning. Her chemistry with Clooney is hit-or-miss, and George is clearly the victor in their exchanges. The minor characters provide a laugh or two but barely stand out, save for the always entertaining and mildly villainous performance from Jonathan Pryce.
While Clooney may not be able to perfect the laughs and romance of the genre, he does do an excellent job in recreating the times. A jazzy, swinging score from Randy Newman complements and humorizes period events like prohibition raids, as well as the bar-room fights and on-field rivalries. The upbeat, piano-heavy tunes are a definite highlight and truly work well to accent the lighthearted atmosphere. Stock footage, sepia tones, and steady pans across still frames accentuate the feeling of watching a piece of history, and the costumes and set designs appear meticulously crafted.
Chronicling the advancement in professional football from the 1920's, Leatherheads attempts to re-imagine the fast-talking screwball comedies of the '30s - but with only partial success. The dialogue is inventive and amusingly brusque, but oftentimes the conversations are too abrupt. Falling back on waggish expressions and lengthy fistfights, Clooney's homage to classic comedies unfortunately has as many stale moments as engaging ones. Like The Good German before it, Leatherheads re-creates a genre long lost, and while both don't fully realize the style of the classics they emulate, it's refreshing to see someone still remembers.
The Massie Twins
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