George Clooney’s latest directorial effort is a pretty entertaining affair, if you know what to expect going in. And what should you expect you might ask? The movie is a throwback homage to the screwball comedies of yesteryear and does an excellent job of capturing the spirit and fun of those films.
Set in the 20’s where college football was king to pro football’s washed up game and presentation, George Clooney play’s a lifer of the league, Dodge Connelly, who attempts to revitalize the all but failed league by signing college super star and war hero Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski) to play for the Duluth Bulldogs. This is all accompanied by a love triangle surrounding the two fore mentioned males and the out of her element reporter Lexie Littleton (Renée Zellweger) trying to get the real story about Carter’s war story.
The football is a secondary element to the movie, but the scenes are a lot of fun with Clooney having a blast running trick plays and acting silly all over the field. The cast of supporting characters are also fun and have a number of nice little bit jokes and acts through out. Stephen Root is the stand out of the cast, playing the “reporter” of the team and is consistently funny every time he is on screen.
The film itself works most of the time, with a bit of dragging here and there, but nothing that ruins the experience. Clooney does a fine job directing with a couple of nice single takes and gives us a nice depiction of the era as well. Clooney’s acting is also great as he relishes in the screwball role that you can tell he loves playing. Krasinski is the worst of the three leads, but does a good job of not just playing Jim from the Office, and creates a sympathetic and likable character that stands on his own. Zellweger is having fun as well, though doesn’t pull off the gag with spades like she did in Down With Love. Jonathan Pryce does a good job as well playing the closest thing to a villain in the film as Carter’s money grubbing agent. The film also does an admirable job of showing the turn of the tide in the pro football league, but it comes off as a bit awkward at times as you ponder whether it was actually this big of a mess or not while in transition.
In the end, Leatherheads achieves what it sets out to be, a screwball comedy that is a throwback to the likes of these films of the past. It might drag and be a bit bloated in a couple areas, but Clooney is just a joy to watch and makes every scene with him on the screen worth seeing. If you are a fan of Clooney, go and check this out. Football fans might come away disappointed, as will any of those people that don’t know what this film is trying to be. But, if you go in with the knowledge of what the film is, there is definitely an enjoyable product here.