Leatherheads

"Excellent"

Leatherheads Review


With his nonchalant sophistication and relaxed charm, George Clooney often gets compared to the icons of Hollywood's Golden Age, from Cary Grant to Clark Gable. But as Leatherheads demonstrates, the leading man really wants to be the next George Cukor.

A football comedy disguised as a love-triangle-laugher, Leatherheads is a snappy throwback fueled by the filmmaker's affection for a bygone era. Clooney's third directorial effort is his lightest film so far, which only means he isn't flogging the fear-mongering tactics of Sen. Joseph McCarthy (Good Night and Good Luck) or dissecting the deranged brain of a game show host who believes he's a CIA operative (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).

Leatherheads keeps the beat of a vintage screwball comedy. It's aided immensely by Duncan Brantley and Rick Reilly's clever pitter-patter dialogue, production designer Jim Bissell's exquisite period detail, and composer Randy Newman's jangly ragtime score (look for his cameo as a piano player in a saloon).

In 1925, pro football's determined Duluth Bulldogs can't draw flies. To stave off financial ruin, team captain Dodge Connelly (Clooney) convinces college star and popular wartime hero Carter Rutherford (affable John Krasinski) to join the team. Winning isn't their only problem. Rutherford's courageous backstory -- he reportedly convinced a battalion of German soldiers to set down their weapons -- is being investigated by ace reporter Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger).

Clooney's at his best when bouncing razor-sharp lines off a flexible co-star, be it Jennifer Lopez in Out of Sight or Catherine Zeta-Jones in the underrated Intolerable Cruelty. Even his chemistry with cohort Brad Pitt threatens to turn the Ocean's franchise into a full-blown romantic serial. So it's no surprise that Leatherheads kicks into gear only after Clooney is paired with proper sparring partner Zellweger about 15 minutes into the film.

From there, Leatherheads fluctuates between appealing genres. At times it's a tried-and-true romantic comedy. Then it swings over to slapstick territory, attempting a frivolous Keystone Kops routine that would make Abbott and Costello proud. Clooney commits to the football elements of his story but avoids the major sports clichés. Even the big game -- once it finally arrives -- remains deadlocked for its duration, which offers an intentionally scathing commentary on professional sports. Clooney seems to be saying that the introduction of rules handed down by the league's dowdy commissioner (Peter Gerety) sapped the fun from the game.

That's assuming Leatherheads has any deeper messages at all, which in fact it really doesn't. This is a lark, an homage to movies Clooney has gone on record as saying he adores. He's so in tune with these storied comedies, it might hurt his film's box-office receipts. Not that Clooney's directorial efforts ever break the bank; Confessions nabbed $16 million while Good Luck nearly doubled that with $31 million. But Leatherheads hangs so close to films produced during a forgotten age that audiences who don't recall how quick-witted screwball comedies used to be might not fully appreciate it (or even care to).

It had a better ring than Mudbodies.



Leatherheads

Facts and Figures

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th April 2008

Box Office USA: $31.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $41.3M

Budget: $58M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Outlaw Productions (I), Universal Pictures, Casey Silver Productions, Smokehouse Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Fresh: 85 Rotten: 78

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Barbara A. Hall, ,

Starring: as Jimmy 'Dodge' Connelly, as Lexie Littleton, as Carter Rutherford, as Coach Frank Ferguson, as Suds, as CC Frazier, as Harvey, as Mack Steiner, Matt Bushell as Curly, Nick Paonessa as Zoom, Malcolm Goodwin as Bakes, as Stump, Tim Griffin as Ralph, Keith Loneker as Big Gus

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.