Monday, July 28, 2008

REVIEW: Leatherheads


Year: 2008
Director: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, Renée Zellweger, John Krasinski, Jonathan Pryce, Stephen Root
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

Leatherheads was intended to come out in 1993 until former president of production at Universal Pictures, Casey Silver left the studio to become an independent producer. The script and movie was put on hold for awhile until Clooney came on board. When a movie that was suppose to come out 15 years ago ends up coming out now, it only spells trouble. The film only managed to gross an estimated $41 million worldwide on a budget of $58 million. Not only did the film not make its budget back, but it also received mixed reviews from critics. I really wanted to see this film when I first caught sight of the trailer. I thought it looked fun and exciting, but I wasn't able to catch it in theaters.

Plot Outline:
Jimmy "Dodge" Connelly (George Clooney) is the leader of the Duluth Bulldogs, an amateur American football team whose fortunes have gone the way of the black sheep. Losing team members as well as matches, he hatches a plan to recruit war hero and Princeton star Carter "The Bullet" Rutherford (John Krasinski), the nation's biggest and best loved college player. Only thing is, not everyone believes Bullet is quite the golden boy he claims to be. Dispatched to scoop the truth is reporter Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger) who ends up falling in love with both Connelly and Rutherford.

I have to agree with some critics here because I too felt that the story for Leatherheads is a mixed bag. While the story isn't really bad, it just doesn't click. It never stays on one path and ends up adding more ideas. In the end we get a sequence of romantic rivalries filled with dull sexy moments of flirtation. The dialogue tends to drag and feels somewhat corny. I know this was meant to be a screwball type comedy, but even then I think the dialogue drags on. The ending could have also used alittle more work. With this said, Leatherheads can still be fun. I know the concept of it may sound boring and dumb on paper, but its actually refreshing. The story ain't great, but its fun and nicely directed by George Clooney. The movie has some jokes that can be pretty funny and fits in the nature of this film. We also get many football scenes that are exciting and fun to watch. All of this mixed with the great 30's and 40's music can result in some form of entertainment.

George Clooney plays as Jimmy 'Dodge' Connelly and hes nicely casted here. Sure hes not giving out Oscar performances, but I found his character to be very enjoyable especially since its Clooney that's playing him. Renée Zellweger plays as Lexie Littleton and she fits in very nicely. Her clothing and style of voice easily matches the films setting. She shows alot of charisma and humor that I found to be pretty refreshing. I did think her dialogue with Clooney was very corny and somewhat childish, but these aren't big issues that will keep you from enjoying this movie. John Krasinski plays as Carter "The Bullet" Rutherford and hes fun here too. I love "The Office" so its very nice to see Jim...I mean Krasinski playing in big roles like this. I thought he did a good job here even though his character kind of felt like Jim Halpert from "The Office". We also have Jonathan Pryce playing as C.C. Frazier and its nice to finally see him away from the Pirate movies. He gives a nice little performance here. Nothing special, but far from bring bad.

The visual look of Leatherheads is pretty great. The film doesn't feature any CGI so we don't have to worry about fake looking animations. I did notice some film grain here and their, but Its very minimal. I think its more of the films look considering its a gritty type of football movie. Colors are pretty impressive for the most part. The film has many scenes outdoor or indoor that really show many wonderful colors. Even when their outdoors, the color never fails to amaze me. Flesh tones are alittle off, but look generally good for the most part. Detail is very good, but not good to the level of 21 which was the last film I reviewed. Their are scenes where the characters faces have a good amount of detail on them. Its only when their far away that some shots seem soft.

The soundtrack in Leatherheads is nicely made and used very effectively. Composer Randy Newman who also scored the music for Toy Story 2 and Seabiscuit, does a fine job here. His score easily fits the atmosphere of the film and is very impressive. We get a ton of music that I think is mostly from the 30's to the 40's. These all sound very good and keeps the story from being a bore fest. The movie also has some nice bass that seems enough for a movie like this. It isn't as great or loud as the ever so popular "Cloverfield", but I think its enough to satisfy you. Its got plenty of rumbles that are mostly heard when their playing football in the fields. But when you got music like the ones in this movie mixed with some bass, you get a great soundtrack.

Leatherheads can be pretty fun at times. Sure the story ain't perfect with its bad use of dialogue and somewhat messy plot, but its still enjoyable. I thought the cast was fine with alot of them giving performances that shouldn't disappoint. The visual look of the movie is somewhat gritty and full of lovely colors. The soundtrack is a joy to listen to and seems to fit the movie very nicely. If your into screwball comedies like this then Id definitely give Leatherheads a rent. Its not great, but its worth checking out if your bored.

Grade: C


micky said...

another good review farzan, ill netflix it

Matt Cyganik said...

One of the few films i still havent seen yet. Good review, but reinforces why i keep forgetting to see it. Maybe I'll just settle for your word, haha.

brianharig said...

it was an OK movie, but I like him in The Office. I just ordered a sweet Jim Halpert shirt from They have tons of stuff from The Office. They said not to tell anyone, but here is a 10% discount code, pts10 (it is case sensitive, so copy and paste it). Enjoy!