Super smooth George Clooney has taken a break from playing his super smooth role in the successful Oceans series long enough to tackle (no pun intended) Leatherheads, a romantic comedy with a professional football backdrop set in the 1930’s. Aside from being an avid football fan (go Panthers), I was looking forward to seeing Clooney do another throwback flick since I had thoroughly enjoyed his foray into it when he did O Brother, Where Art Thou?. I wasn’t disappointed.
But the reason for my being impressed doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the fact that the movie is a spectacular piece of work (it isn’t). Instead, I found myself clued in on two things:
- The impressive casting job
- How much fun the cast genuinely looked like they were having
To speak on the casting of Leatherheads – it was an all around job well done by Clooney, whom I suspect handpicked who he wanted for this film (he directed it). John Krasinski is perfect as the all-American boy, Carter Rutherford, whose wholesome look and war-hero shtick is being used (borderlining abused) to market the emerging NFL and everything else under the sun. Renée Zellweger, plays the sharp-tongued vixen as well as any leading lady in Hollywood today. Here she takes on the role of Lexie Littleton, the fiery, quick-witted reporter looking to expose whether or not the war hero story of Carter’s was fabricated or not. Clooney, as expected, saves the cool-cat role of Jimmy ‘Dodge’ Connelly for himself. He is wholly responsible for saving the league and “gracefully” dealing with the new kid on the block, all while trying to win the charms of a certain spitfire little lady. And who can forget Stephen Root (best known for his role as Milton in Office Space)? This guy has got the likable, squirrely persona down to a tee.
And as I said, everyone is having one hell of a time. Some if it may indeed have something to do with the well written, albeit simplistic, screenplay by first timers Duncan Brantley and Rick Reilly, but mostly I think it had to do with the comfort level between actors. When all are at ease, dialogue flows like water and movements are natural. You’ll see what I am talking about when you watch the exchange between Clooney and Zellweger during their initial encounter in the hotel lobby. The back and forth verbal jabs thrown between the two of them can do nothing but put a smile on your face.
So, if you haven’t had the chance to check Leatherheads out yet, do so. It isn’t going to win any awards but you’ll most certainly be entertained. And even though it can be said that Hollywood has forgotten, isn’t that what movies are really supposed to do?