Caught an early matinee yesterday of the George Clooney, Renee Zellweger film Leatherheads. The set up is that Clooney is an aging pro football player trying to keep the game from going under. After his team gets disbanded, he hatches a plan to get college football star and World War 1 hero John Krasinski (Jim from the Office) to go pro early by guaranteeing both him and his agent a huge cut of the gates. Zellweger plays a journalist assigned to Krasinski by a newspaper to fetter out the real story behind his World War 1 heroics. Zellweger is torn by her attraction to both men and by her desire to get the truth. Ultimately, the final game comes down Clooney, and the old ways of playing the game, versus Krasinski and the new rules of legitimized football.
The were elements of this film that I really liked. The overall feel of the movie was very classic, like a film made in the 30's or 40's, taking its time with pace and plotting, the subtle humor mixed with the obvious. It was set in the 1920's and had maintained that world very well. They didn't rush the plot or hammer in any of the details of the movie, they let it develop at it's own pace. Clooney, who doubles as director, was definitely influenced by the films of Cary Grant and Clark Gable and the sort of comedies they made. Krasinski was great too, his character is not the hero that everyone thinks he is, but you still root for him to win, and the wrong actor can really affect how that comes across.
That being said I do think the film ran a little long and dragged in some areas. If you are not a fan of classic films or a die hard Clooney fanatic you may want to wait for DVD. I don't think it ever really captures the heart of the audience though, falling just a bit short straddling the line between comedy, romance and storytelling. It takes a bit of each, but doesn't maximize on any certain one, which for me has the film come up a bit short.
This film is not like most movies in the theatre, it's a throwback movie and I am glad to see more like these made. I can't say it was a great film, but I did like it. Check it out.
End of Line.