Leatherheads on DVD

Leatherheads on DVD. I can’t imagine that any movie studio jumped at the chance to make a 1920s period sports romantic comedy, but when you can get George Clooney and Renee Zellweger to star in it, then some might have shown interest. Of course, Zellweger already has what might be considered a sports romance to her credit with Jerry Maguire and with Clooney agreeing to direct as well, it’s not too surprising that this film made it to theaters, if only briefly. What is surprising is that it isn’t a total waste of time. The triangle between aging pro footballer Clooney, new star John Krasinski (The Office), and plucky reporter Zellweger has some nice twists. Clooney hopes to use Krasinski’s celebrity status to help build audiences for the otherwise moribund professional game (similar to what really happened with Red Grange). Meanwhile, Zellweger’s ambitious character is attempting to expose the fact that the tales of Krasinski’s heroic efforts in the recent war have little truth behind them. The rapid fire dialog is supposed to be reminiscent of the classic romantic comedies and some scenes are quite good, but others fall flat. The slapstick nature of the comedy helps the football scenes, but does little to support the romantic story.

Every few years someone attempts this strange hybrid of film (see Wimbledon (tennis), Fever Pitch (baseball), and Tin Cup (golf)) and we may see more in the future if this site devoted to sports romance books is any indication. Leatherheads took on a more difficult challenge than the others by being a period piece as well, but succeeds on a level comparable to the aforementioned flicks, though it doesn’t match the gold standard of Bull Durham.

On an administrative note, my local library, which I have praised many times in the past, has changed their policy regarding popular DVD titles. As a result, I will be watching far fewer films over the next few months and hence there will be fewer reviews on the blog. I will be using the library less often and have to say that politicians and public institutions that enact policies I oppose will not be getting my support on Election Day.

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