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4 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
George Clooney

Written By:
Rick Reilly, Duncan Brantley

George Clooney, John Krasinski, Renee Zellweger, Stephen Root, Wayne Duvall, Peter Gerety, Keith Loneker, Malcolm Goodwin, Tim Griffin, Robert Baker, Jonathan Pryce, Max Casella, Christian Stolte, Ezra Buzzington, Ron Clinton Smith, Dan John Miller, Bill Roberson, David Lowe, Jim Keisler, Mert Hatfield, Ray Hammack, Susan Crosby, Leslie Dawn Forsyth, Christy Johnson, Matt Bushell, George Peroulas, Edd Robinson, Steve McClure, Patt Noday, William Stine, Ted Johnson, Sandra W. Van Natta, Nick Paonessa, Mark Teich, Zack Kay, Trey Moore, Sandra W. Van Natta, Tom Huff, Pete Pastore, Craig S. Harper, Ted Huckabee, John Vance, Jason Drago, Steve Rosswick, Mike Newsom, Hi Bedford-Roberson, Kyle Nudo, Mellie Boozer

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Leatherheads (2008)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
April 6th, 2008

'Leatherheads' is set in the 1920s, before American football became a beloved sport and a national obsession; it was only a popular college game and those who played had no hope of finding success as a professional athlete after graduation. That is why many of them became doctors and lawyers, or even politicians, like Gerald Ford. 'Leatherheads' idealizes football, and the way it was prior to its transformation into a business, with managers and a commissioner and an official organization that formulates rules and regulations, not to mention teams filled with men who play primarily because of the huge salaries, and not because they really enjoy it. It is really all about the purity and fun of football, according to someone like Dodge Connelly (George Clooney), an aging player and enthusiast who wants to get football the recognition it deserves, to register it as a sport, which is why he goes to promoter CC Frazier (Jonathan Pryce). Connelly wants to throw together a team, which he calls the Duluth Bulldogs, and his star recruit is college phenom Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski).

A reporter named Lexie Littleford (Renee Zellweger) shows up to do a story on Rutherford, interested mostly in his status as a war hero, though she finds that his service in WWI is not quite all it is cracked up to be. Lexie and Dodge fall for each other, and the real strength of the movie is the ability of Zellweger and Clooney to engage in sharp, quick-witted exchanges with one another, in what is mainly a throwback to the old screwball comedies of the 1930s and those with Tracy and Hepburn. Physical shtick rears its head as Dodge and Carter have to contend with the realization that they are both in love with Lexie, and may possibly have to fight for her affections. But, a vast majority of the film's humor is derived from the dialogue, and the pitch-perfect performances of Zellweger and Clooney, who are well-accustomed to material like this and have sensational chemistry. The movie often evokes a sense of nostalgia, envisions a gentler, more pristine America, before the Depression and WWII. The cinematography, art direction, costume design, and even the scoring all do a fantastic job in emulating and recreating the era.

There are a significant number of on-field football scenes, which I did not find that interesting, but just when you think this might be a sports movie, it turns into a romance, and then moves into comedy, and then touches upon the plot thread that has Lexie confronting the troubling truth about Carter's past, and how this may impact her own career. She is, after all, sent to learn more about his marvelous exploits on the battlefield, and if those exploits prove to be exaggerated, what will that mean for her journalistic future? Will she risk exposing them as such? This segment goes on too long, stretching the movie's running time unnecessarily close to two hours. This is Clooney's sophomore feature as a director; his debut was the outstanding drama Good Night and Good Luck. It will be a while, I would wager, before he tops that. But 'Leatherheads' is a solid entertainment.

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