George Clooney, Renee Zellweger, John Krasinski
Directed by George Clooney
Universal 2008
114 minutes

At the risk of blasphemy, there is an echo of Tracy and Hepburn in the Renee Zellweger George Clooney relationship in Leatherheads. This DVD is a sometimes subtle sometimes screwball fifties type comedy centered around the beginnings of professional football in 1925, hence the title Leatherheads. This movie also has a serious tone to it at times.

George Clooney plays Dodge Connelly, the shrewd and fun-loving forty-something star of the Duluth Bulldogs professional football team. Professional football is its infancy.  Teams are going bankrupt faster than mortgage companies in the States.

Connelly is desperate to keep his team alive because football is the only thing he knows. He sees salvation in the form of war hero and Princeton star Carter Rutherford. However, Carter’s manager C.C takes on a bigger role than Dodge had planned and journalist Lexi Littleton (Zellweger) is working a story to uncover the truth about Rutherford’s story. Will her journalism mine Rutherford and kill professional football?

Clooney is a very good director if you are to believe Leatherheads. He obviously knows history of the comedies this movie echoes –this is especially true in the chase scene after the raid on the speakeasy– and he gets good performances all around aside from a rather held back one from himself.

You can tell the director worked hard on authenticity and generally Leatherheads feels authentic. Clooney even made sure the movie opened with a sepia toned Universal opener from the early days of the studio.

Special features include the usual boring director’s commentary although Clooney again shows he knows the old style comedies, a short about a prank the director played on the crew, and a digital copy of Leatherheads.


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