Leatherheads (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner10/04/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 115 mins

Incorrectly marketed as a rom-com, Leatherheads starts well but runs out of steam about halfway through, though it's still worth seeing for the performances and Clooney's Coen-esque direction.

What's it all about?
Set in 1925, Leatherheads stars George Clooney as American football player Dodge Connolly, who realises that football games need to attract much bigger crowds if the sport is going to survive. With that in mind, he persuades agent CC Frazier (Jonathan Pryce) to allow college football star-slash-war hero Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski) to play for Connolly's team, in the hopes that Carter's nationwide fame will result in massive crowds.

However, a member of Carter's platoon has cast aspersions on his so-called heroism, causing ace reporter Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger) to shadow the team in the hopes of uncovering the truth. Things are further complicated when Dodge falls for Lexie, only to find her schmoozing Carter in pursuit of her story.

The Good
Leatherheads starts well, with strong, likeable characters and sparky, screwball comedy-style banter between the two leads. There’s also some delightful, Coen-esque direction from Clooney, such as the game being played in a field that still has cows in it. In addition, there's genuine chemistry between Clooney and Zellweger, as well as strong comic support from both Krasinski and Stephen Root as Dodge's sportswriter friend, Sudsy.

The Bad
However, it quickly becomes apparent that the film has been badly mismarketed as a rom-com, because it's much more about the early days of pro football than about the relationship between the two leads. To that end, the relationship conflict is resolved far too quickly, jettisoning the promising love triangle aspect of the story and rapidly running out of steam as a result.

In addition, the film is a good 20 minutes too long, to the point where the climactic scenes with the players slogging through thick mud begins to feel like a metaphor for the entire movie.

Worth seeing?
Leatherheads is worth seeing if you're a fan of either Clooney or period sports dramas but if you're expecting a rom-com you'll be disappointed.

Film Trailer

Leatherheads (12A)
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Content updated: 23/09/2018 02:13

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