>> Leatherheads (John’s Review, 7/10)

Leatherheads“Cute” is not an adjective I throw around often, and “cute” is generally not the adjective you want to see applied towards a football movie. Leatherheads is cute. This story from the early days of professional football was a passion project from director and star George Clooney, but his passion doesn’t seem to be focused on the sport of football itself.

Clooney plays “Dodge” Connelly, an aging pro football player for the Duluth Bulldogs who attempts to elevate the popularity his unpopular sport by wooing college superstar Carter Rutherford (Jim Krasinski) onto the team. Rutherford is a wunderkind–not just an overnight boon to the Bulldogs, but a decorated war hero as well. It’s his background in WWI in particular that attracts the attention of the Chicago Tribune’s Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger), assigned to find out the truth behind Rutherford’s WWI record.

The film is enjoyable, if unfocused. It’s a comedy that’s not really funny, a romance that’s not really romantic, and a sports drama that’s not really interested in sports or drama. Clooney shows his typical strengths in capturing a particular time, and I liked the vibe of Leatherheads probably more than I liked the actual film. There’s some playful dialogue, a brisk pace, but also some painfully forced zany moments, and a feather-light resolution.

This sort of light entertainment isn’t all together unwelcome, but I don’t think I ever expected to see a “cute” football movie.

7 on a 1 to 10 scale

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