Saturday, April 12, 2008
Ahh Georgie Boy. Ambition is usually a good thang, and it’s clear the Mr. Clooney, star and director of Leatherheads, a new slapstick tale of romance and sports is very much a film made in the style of the great Preston Sturges (co-star John Krasinski has mentioned in interviews that Clooney advised him to watch the filmmaker’s movies as a prep device), but the movie doesn’t come close to achieving that one-of-a-kind Sturges (The Lady Eve, Sullivan’s Travels, The Palm Beach Story) combo of wit, panache, insightful satire and withering cynicism. Clooney, as both actor and director, seems to be straining here and much of the movie is muddled-the climatic game, the attempt at snappy screwball-styled dialogue, the strained attempts at moralizing (always a death knell for a comedy). The truth is, I like Clooney, I like Rene Zellweger, I like sports movies, I like grown-up comedies, and I truly wanted to like Leatherheads a whole lot more.