Monday, April 7, 2008

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Posted By on Mon, Apr 7, 2008 at 6:11 PM

MOVIEGOER REVIEW:  LEATHERHEADS

It was a little more than one month ago that George Clooney was making the rounds in defense of his recent film, the exceptional "Michael Clayton."  In that movie, Clooney played a renegade attorney who uncovers a extensive plot to hide the truth in a multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit.  He received an Oscar nomination for his performance.

However, no such honor will be bestowed upon him for his latest effort, "Leatherheads," a quirky and silly comedy about the advent of professional football in the 1920's.  The film stars Clooney as Jimmy 'Dodge' Connelly, an aging pro player traveling from one blue collar mining town to the next playing games in front of small crowds.  His team, like most other teams in the league, has gone belly up.  In response, Dodge conceives of a plan to bring Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski) a great college player onto the team.  He's a war hero and he'll boost ticket sales.  He's right, but Rutherford has a secret: his fame is predicated on an embellished war record.  Fast on his trail is Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger), a Chicago reporter angling for a promotion. 

Mr. Clooney also directs the film.  He's hardly a novice behind the camera; his last directorial effort, "Good Night and Good Luck," earned him an Academy Award nomination.  For such a talented artist, "Leatherheads" is hardly indicative of his abilities.   Like the multitude of failed Woody Allen comedies that have appeared this decade, "Leatherheads" is a misguided attempt at funny.  Not even Mr. Clooney's charm, which rears its head at the most inopportune times, can save a film this bland.

But perhaps we should temper our criticism.  After all, even recent Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen, for whom Clooney will act in the upcoming "Burn After Reading," made "The Ladykillers." 

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