Leatherheads

Film
3 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
Ah, how we miss the days of screwball comedy, when romance lived or died depending on the bite of your banter. Most attempts to resurrect the genre fall flat, yet hope springs eternal: if anybody were capable of pulling off this Lazarus act, it’d be George Clooney, the guy with the old-school movie star looks and respect for old Hollywood? The fact that Clooney comes close with his anarchic American football farce only makes this well-intended throwback all the more frustrating. The movie gets lots of things right, yet it fumbles key facets so badly that you simply can’t christen it the gridiron version of ‘His Girl Friday’.

To his credit, the director-star evokes the early era of pro football with panache, capturing the moment when the game went from a shyster’s paradise to a sanctioned industry. Clooney also knows how to channel the Gable-Cooper-McCrea charm like a champ. It’s the dizzy dame in the love triangle who gums up the works. Playing a Hildy Johnson-style reporter, Renée Zellweger can’t reach screwball speed: she’s no Miriam Hopkins, much less Barbara Stanwyck or Carole Lombard. It’s a tall order but when Zellweger tries to attain motormouth velocity, the pace falls three beats behind and everyone else scrambles to regain lost ground. In another comedy, she’d be a weak link. For this fast-talking team effort, she is almost the kiss of death.

Posted:

Details

Release details

Rated:
PG
Release date:
Friday September 5 2008
Duration:
114 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
George Clooney
Screenwriter:
Duncan Brantley, Rick Reilly
Cast:
George Clooney
Renée Zellweger
John Krasinski
Stephen Root
Wayne Duvall
Jonathan Pryce
Jack Thompson
Max Casella
Marian Seldes