Leatherheads DVD Review by Kevin Crossman

George Clooney’s Leatherheads is at once a throwback sports movie about the early days of professional football but also a throwback to the era’s screwball comedies. Clooney directed the movie written by Duncan Brantley and Rick Reilly, and also stars alongside Renee Zellweger. The Office’s John Krasinski stretches his acting chops with an effective performance in a tricky role.

Leatherheads tells of the story of Dodge Connolly (Clooney), an aging football hero in the days when “professional” football was closer to rugby or even organized street fighting. But Connolly sees a way to save his sport by attempting to recruit handsome, glamorous college football star Carter Rutherford (Krasinski). Meanwhile, Lexie Littleton is a star newspaper reporter sent to dig up dirt on Rutherford who is a war hero and product pitchman in addition to the star of the Princeton gridiron.

For the first two acts, Clooney deftly directs a tale that respects and celebrates the subject matter and the type of filmmaking present in those days of yore. He has several effective scenes of snappy dialogue with Zellweger who is brilliant at playing the smart and sexy reporter. Clooney is underrated as a physical comedian and plays many scenes for laughs in the early part of the film that will keep you laughing and smiling throughout.

During the last act, the film takes a distinct dramatic turn as the story heads towards its climax. Will Rutherford’s slimy agent (Jonathan Pryce) find a way to keep him in the spotlight or will his secret ruin his career? There is true dramatic tension and while it is distinct in tone it is not lacking in effectiveness or in pleasure for the audience. Additionally, as a sports movie the climax provides a true twist unlike any I’ve ever seen in the genre. The twist is among the many well-crafted aspects of this movie that is great fun.

Office fans should take note that Krasinski isn’t phoning in the performance as Jim Halpert circa 1925. Instead, Krasinski plays the role with equal parts likable all-star and haunted melancholy. He’s extremely effective in a trio that involves two Oscar winners, and his role is the most nuanced and well rounded in the film. Krasinski proves he has the acting chops to form a healthy career.

The DVD extras are interesting but Office fans should not feature very little Krasinski material.

   - Deleted Scenes
   - Football’s Beginnings – an inside look at the making of the film with brief interviews with the stars
   - Visual Effects – an interesting side by side look at the scenes before and after the special effects were added to recreate football scenes from 1925
   - No Pads, No Fear – Preparation for the film’s football scenes
   - George Clooney – A Leatherheaded Prankster
   - Feature commentary with George Clooney and Producer/Actor Grant Heslov
   – An unfortunate extra that features little of the charm and prankish fun that we usually see from Clooney.

Overall, Leatherheads is a film that is fun for men and women of all ages. Office fans should immediately head to the DVD store to pick up the film and root for their favorite salesman in a different kind of uniform.


Kevin obviously liked this movie much more than *I* did.  See my original review HERE.


Category:general -- posted at: 12:35am EDT

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