Directed by: George Clooney | 114 minutes | drama, comedy, romance, sports | Actors: George Clooney, Renée Zellweger, John Krasinski, Jonathan Pryce, Malcolm Goodwin, Matt Bushell, Tommy Hinkley, Tim Griffin, Robert Baker, Nick Paonessa, Lance Barber, Wayne Duvall, Nicholas Bourdages, Jason Drago, Bill Roberson, Hi Bedford- Roberson, Stephen Root, Mark Teich, Christian Stolte, Jack Thompson, Max Casella, Keith Loneker, Marian Seldes, Thomas Murphy, JD Cullum, Randy Farmer, Mike OMalley, Dylan Kussman, Ryan Shively, Kyle Nudo, Tom Huff, Heather Goldenhersh, Michael Scott, Ron Clinton Smith, Mert Hatfield, Dan John Miller, Scott Reynolds, John Vance, John McConnell, Peter Gerety, Jeremy Ratchford, Grant Heslov
The world of Dodge Connelly and his teammates falls apart when their sponsor decides it’s been a good one. The ‘leatherheads’ have no choice but to return to the mines, the farm or, in the case of Dodge, to a hopeless position in the labor market. He is middle-aged and has mastered nothing but football, which was little in demand in the years after the First World War. When Dodge reads about super talent Carter Rutherford who also turns out to be a war hero, he wants to use Carter as a magnet to attract sponsors and a large audience. Modern professional football was born.
Previously, Dodge was the star player, devising all kinds of tricks and maneuvers with which his team won in a neat or less neat way. With the arrival of Carter, this changes drastically. Carter is not only much younger and faster than Dodge, but also has innovative and effective ideas about nutrition and training methods. His maneuvers also prove to be much better tactically. You can’t argue with that.
Even less fun is that Carter gets more attention from journalist Lexie Littleton than Dodge would like. She should write a critical article about Carter because of the rumors that he wouldn’t be as great a war hero as is said, but she is not insensitive to the charms and advances of this top sportsman. Poor Dodge watches it all with dismay, until an unexpected opportunity presents itself to make things his way.
‘Leatherheads’ is a fun naughty boy movie brimming with good-natured humor and mischievous pranks. There are heroes, villains and everything in between, but everyone contributes to the friendly atmosphere of boys among each other. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially when the acting is so enthusiastic and sympathetic. The fact that the decoration is pleasing to the eye and the complications are not too heavy completes the feeling of warm satisfaction. Add to this the romance of the ‘speakeasies’ that flourished during Prohibition and two hours of viewing pleasure is assured.
With all that good-naturedness, reality is not shunned, like Carter’s money-hungry manager who has more eye for his own interests than that of his client and the overreliance on sponsors, a whorish but inescapable part of professional sport. The fans’ dubious need to know everything about their sports heroes without anything to do with the sport and the ridiculously simple way of brushing aside any missteps has also been taken out of life. A fun, entertaining film with funny dialogues and cozy heroism. Nothing heavy, just pure, good fun.