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Review: Leatherheads

George Clooney is a great actor. He is one of the few today that approach legend status. He stays out of the tabloids, resurfaces only to promote a movie, and always delivers (I refuse to acknowledge the existence of Batman & Robin). There is a sense of mystery that adds to his screen presence in any film. His directing however is still in the childlike discovery phase.

In Leatherheads it becomes apparent that Clooney is a strong advocate of the Coen brothers. The Coen brothers are masters of character study. Their art is in putting a wide assortment of interesting characters together and letting them run free, filming their interactions. What results is almost an experiment in anthropology. Clooney attempts his own experiment in Leatherheads, but falls well short of the masters.

Each character on his/her own is very interesting. Clooney’s performance as an old-school football bruiser is flawless, as is John Krasinski’s portrayal of the college football hero. Even Renee Zellweger excels despite a poorly written reporter archetype. It’s in the interactions that this movie fails. They’re just not that interesting.

In the end, this movie was entertaining, but more so like a child imitating his favorite cartoon: largely unorganized, yet likeable, and sometimes funny, but it could have been so much more. It could have been the Coen brothers.

– 42 arbitrary stars