“Leatherheads” Relative to the Funny Snail

Genres: Comedy and Sports
Running Time:
1 hr. 54 min.
Release Date:
April 4th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating:
PG-13 for brief strong language.
Universal Pictures Distribution

Directed by: George Clooney

JJ Rating: B-

Football is not a legitimate pro-sport. Dodge Connolly (George Clooney) wants to make it so. He wants to make it so with the college football/war hero Carter Rutherford “The Bullet” (John Krasinski). He has to go through pit bull agent CC Frazier (Jonathan Pryce) to strike a reasonable unfair deal and endure the biting wit and reporter snooper Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger) to even start his idea. Whether or not “The Bullet” will legitimatize Pro-Football is the question everyone asks and Lexie questions if he really is as heroic as America think. Leatherheads.

As I viewed this film I was reminded of black and white Carry Grant. Mainly it was during the times that Clooney and Zellweger were having their verbal sparing. It made me laugh and it had enjoyability, showing the charm that films use to have but now have lost. But then the dramatic parts would rear their ugly heads and I would just cringe and the pacing dragged its feet across the ground barely getting from the start to the finish without me checking my watch seven times within the last 20 minutes.

I was thinking that if there were a remake of a Carry Grant film that George Clooney has the potential to pull it off, more so than anyone else; I think. However, he will have to forgo the directing so that he can remain focused. His directing was good but I think he lacked the foresight to realize that the length of the film matters and when you are dealing with a hybrid comedy/drama (dramady if you will) then shorter is better than longer. Comedies have a time limit and stretching it to the 2 hour mark is pushing it beyond the moviegoer’s breaking point. Yeah it’s not 2 hours but it sure the hell felt like it was even longer than that.

Renee Zellweger was excellent. She just has the suave and fineness to pull off almost any role. Unless, of course, you find her scrunchy face annoying, then you’re just laughing at me. I personally see nothing wrong with how it bunches up when she laughs or speaks as she is sarcastically wounded. She was the highlight of the film for me. I like her in most of everything I’ve seen her in. Her movies tend to not get to me, but she does and I guess that accounts for something.

John Krasinski shows his talent with subtle emotions during the scenes where he doesn’t have many lines. He stares at Zellweger and you can see what he’s feeling and that’s good. I just can’t help but think he was in the big leagues during this film with two heavyweights and didn’t really hold his ground as well as he could and should have. That is why I think George Clooney sort of failed as a director, because Krasinski is a good actor, he just didn’t push it to make him a great one in this film.

Leatherheads has great moments and they are mainly with the witty lines that happen between Clooney and Zellweger. Is it worth seeing just for those moments? I don’t’ think so. I think that the weekend gross shows how much it’s failed, but I don’t think it’s as bad or dismal as the lack of millions for its opening. There were a lot of places where the time could have been shorten and created a more football paced speed (sans the time outs). Time was the killer to this film. It has great scenes that are laced together with slow. Pace is one of the all time best ways to kill your film. I guess if you are in film school then this would be a great film to see to know how NOT to pace your film.

The cinematography is awesome as are the costumes.Leatherheads is a visually stunning film with all its vibrant colors, décor and clothes. Going to different times while watching a film is fun and part of the fun is the old time look because it’s a place most everyone has never been, so it’s always interesting to see the fashion of the past. If a designer does well then the enjoyment happens, as it should.

Leatherheads would be a relative to a funny snail. If you were to talk to a funny snail you would find his jokes to be funny but get annoyed with the pace that he tells them and you want to rush him to get on with it, hurry and get to the point. By the time he’s into the joke and almost to the end you don’t care or find him not nearly as fascinating as you did at the start.

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