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Thursday, July 23, 2009

LEATHERHEADS (2008)

The rise of professional football from its rag-tag beginnings is a natural for the movies. But George Clooney, who megs & mugs this misfire, leaves football behind for yet one more failed attempt at reviving screwball comedy. With its girl-reporter who finds herself squeezed between a tough old pro & a handsome young striver, this is Frank Capra/Howard Hawks territory (think, MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN/’36 and HIS GIRL FRIDAY/’‘40), but Clooney is (ahem) no Hawks or Capra. (People routinely say that comedy is so much harder than drama, but do they really believe it? Just compare Clooney’s decent work on GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK/’05 with this mess to see how true it is.) RenĂ©e Zellweger & John Krasinski don’t come off too well, either; and as for football . . . it's an after-thought, brought back for the slapstick climax. Who approved this script? The whole thing feels like a vanity project for Clooney and something of an anti-vanity project for Ms. Zellweger who has become all but impossible to photograph.

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