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Leatherheads

The focus is all over the field in this period sports comedy-romance.

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George Clooney takes a break from serious subjects, helming and starring in this period comedy about football in 1925. Dodge Connolly (Clooney) leads the Duluth Bulldogs, who rise from mediocrity on the shoulders of college phenom Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski); along for the ride, nosy Chicago reporter Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger). This is pleasant entertainment, good-natured and prettily portrayed (Clooney looks especially good in vintage clothes), but Leatherheads is all over the field. From Warner Bros.-style snappy-banter newspaper comedy and a history lesson on the early days of professional football to a squabble-til-we-kiss romance and a riff on the nature of war heroism that might have been lifted from the Preston Sturgess playbook, the film never commits. It's just like football, fellas -- running in circles may be amusing, but you gotta have an organized playbook to make it in the pros. (AH) [capsule review]

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