I was really looking forward to Leatherheads since I saw the first trailer back in December. After all, I love George Clooney, and I’m a big fan of John Krasinski’s work on The Office. I’m rather indifferent on Renee Zellweger, but her character seemed to be the type of saucy girl I like to see in movies.
Clooney plays pro football player Dodge Connelly who convinces Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski) to quit playing college ball at Princeton to join Connelly’s pro team. At the same time Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger), a writer for the Chicago Tribune, has been given the assignment to expose Rutherford’s war hero story for the legend it really is. Naturally, both players flirt with the seemingly innocent Miss Littleton, and of course she’s attracted to both of them (or at least appears to be).
The movie is funny, but not laugh-out-loud funny. It doesn’t focus enough on either the romance or the football to be strictly a romantic comedy or strictly a sports movie. The slapstick scenes, however, are perfectly executed. In fact, one scene involving Clooney and Zellweger hiding reminds me of old silent movies where the person hiding and the person chasing are running back and forth between a series of doors. The bar fight scene and the on-field football brawl are reminscent of old westerns where someone gets hit over the head with a bottle.
The cast is wonderful. Clooney is charming as always. John Krasinski really has potential as a film star, especially if he continues in the charming footsteps of his costar. Renee Zellweger’s character left her in a tough position – she seemed charming, but it was hard to like someone who was screwing over Jim Halpert. However, her quick wit makes her a lot more likeable. Stephen Root (aka Milton from Office Space, or Gordon in Dodgeball) is great as the drunk newspaper reporter that follows the team.
I liked the movie, but I didn’t love it. It seemed that it could have been funnier if only the story could get out of the way. The whole plot with Lexie’s story on Rutherford just weighs the movie down. If we could have focused on the football and the romantic rivalry I think it would have been a better movie.
I’d suggest picking it up on DVD or Netflixing it, unless you really want to drool over Clooney and/or Krasinski on the big screen. Don’t expect another A League of Their Own, but it’s a decent way to spend an afternoon.
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