There’s no screwball in football, but there’s plenty of football in this screwball comedy.
George Clooney’s Leatherheads is, appropriately enough, a real kick, a return to the jaunty, wisecracking romps of the ’30s and ’40s. George Clooney is the equivalent of the football triple threat, a player who can – say – run, pass, and kick.
As Hollywood’s version, he’s a multi-hyphenate, someone who gets his kicks acting, writing, producing, and/or directing.
This is Clooney’s directorial follow-up to 2005’s Good Night, and Good Luck. Oh, it won’t be the same kind of Academy Award player. Hey, Good Night, and Good Luck received six – count ’em: six – Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture, and writing and directing nods for Clooney. But Leatherheads, fueled by Clooney’s fondness for the screwball genre, is both warmly nostalgic and richly entertaining.
It’s a retro tribute to football in 1925, when the college game packed fans in while the professional game – with its nonexistent rulebook and freewheeling style – remained an under-attended afterthought. (How times have changed!)