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April 9, 2008 > Movie Review: Leatherheads

Movie Review: Leatherheads

Long before the days of Astroturf and cheerleaders, multimillion dollar paychecks and staggering endorsements, some men played football only for the love of the game. They were rough and crass; foul-mouthed and hardheaded. They were "Leatherheads."

Oscar winner George Clooney and Renee Zellweger match wits in "Leatherheads," a quick-witted romantic comedy set against the backdrop of America's nascent pro-football league in 1925.

Clooney is Dodge Conolly, a charming, brash football hero who knows that this burgeoning sport is currently attracting, at best, a smattering of loud, drunk fans who can't conceive of paying top dollar to attend a football contest. Games are free-for-alls that devolve into fisticuffs, and the situation is quickly deteriorating. But the captain is convinced that it is possible to guide his team - and league - from bar brawls to packed stadiums.

After the players lose their sponsor and the entire league faces collapse, Dodge convinces agent CC Frazier (Jonathan Pryce) to contract rising college football star Carter "The Bullet" Rutherford (John Krasinski) who is filling stadiums with his ragtag ranks. Dodge hopes his latest move will help the struggling sport to finally capture the country's attention.

Rutherford (John Krasinski), is America's favorite son. This golden-boy WWI hero single-handedly forced multiple German solders to surrender. Carter has dashing good looks and unparalleled speed on the field. This new champ is too good to be true and Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger) aims to prove that's the case. A cub reporter playing in the journalism big leagues, Lexie suspects there are holes in Carter's war story. But while she digs, Dodge and Rutherford become serious off-field rivals for her fickle affections.

As the new game of pro-football becomes less like the freewheeling sport he knew and loved, Dodge must fight to keep his guys together and get the girl of his dreams. Finding love and football have a surprisingly similar playbook; however, he has one maneuver he will save for the fourth quarter.

Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 1 hr. 54 mins.

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