In 'Leatherheads' (Cert PG, 109 mins, Universal Pictures UK €20.41) George Clooney turns the act of staring dreamily down the lens of the camera into an art form, seducing half the female viewers before Renee Zellweger’s blonde bombshell reciprocates his advances.
With professional football in the doldrums, veteran player Dodge Connelly (Clooney) seizes upon a foolproof scheme: to recruit star Princeton athlete Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski) to his ailing team, the Duluth Bulldogs.
Dodge blags his way into a meeting with Carter and his hard-nosed manager, CC Frazier (Jonathan Pryce), but is distracted by plucky reporter Lexie Littleton (Zellweger), who has been sent by her paper – The Chicago Tribune – to write a puff piece on the boy wonder. In fact, her real intention is to dig beneath the surface of Carter’s supposedly glittering war record, and to expose the golden boy as a fraud.
Dodge falls hopelessly in love with the perfectly coiffed reporter but grows increasingly jealous of the amount of time she spends with his new signing. Leatherheads continues director-actor George Clooney’s fascination with celebrity culture and journalistic ethics.
The truth about Carter’s time in the trenches pulls the film in one ponderous direction, while the sparring of Clooney and Zellweger takes it somewhere else entirely.
Pryce’s money grabber gets his comeuppance before a rain- and mud-sodden final showdown, which must have been huge fun to shoot but is a bore for us as spectators. DVD Extras: Deleted scenes.