I shouldn't like George Clooney. He's smugger than a stockbroker thats just fucked a prostitute without his wife finding out, while simultaneously dysoning coke from her belly button and solving a suduko in record time. Well, okay, he's not that smug but he does have an air of grinny mcgrin and rightly so. Women want to fuck him and men want to be him. And men want to fuck him. He has all the best celeb mates and makes genuinely good movies as an actor, writer, director and producer. In fact as a director he's made two of my favourite films of the decade, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night and Good Luck. So this I was looking forward to with a degree of optimism...
Set at the birth, and some might argue death, of professional (American) football Leatherheads follows Jimmy 'Dodge' Connelly a chancer whose life revolves around the love of the pigskin. When he sees an opportunity to expoilt war hero Carter Rutherford's celebrity for the good of the game he does so, making a sport that was once only popular amongst the college crowd into a huge money spinning mega event. Trying to get a scoop on Carter is Lexie Littleton, a female newsreporter, who soon becomes the object of both mens affections. Can Dodge win the girl and win the game or is his clock running down too fast?
I say I was looking forward to this film with a degree of enthusiasm but after a collegue with similar filmic opinions as mine came out scratching his head about how the same man could make this mess that made Good Night I decided to lower said expectations. And I'm glad I did because it made the film, perhaps not enjoyable, but certainly above bearable on the scale of cinema nirvana to 35mm haemorrhoid. Its main problem is an uncertainty of genre and style.
Too often it flits between old style screwball comedy and modern day dram/rom/com. Renne 'there are no eyes in my name or my face' Zellweger has done this before in Down With Love, and while handing in another of my man cards for liking that film, I also have to admit that she plays the role well. But while the former film had the stones to keep the screwball rolling Leatherheads doesn't and it suffers from that. You'd think if anyone was brave enough to take a chance it would be unflappable George but in the role as director and lead character, there is not enough consistency. Maybe that grin will wain slightly when he reads this. Because he does read my reviews. Every week. I'm one of his celeb mates.