Last night I went to a screening of George Clooney's new movie Leatherheads. My friend Norman works for a major movie studio and regularly invites me to free employee-and-guest screenings of their new releases, and this was yesterday's offering. While I thank Norman for his generosity, the nicest thing I can say is, wow -- what a stinker. I'm glad I didn't pay anything to see this movie.
I am a predictable heterosexual female in that I find George Clooney to be, overall, an adorable fellow. But I don't fall into the "he can do no wrong camp," and this movie is a prime example of him doing wrong. George not only stars in this loser, but he directed it as well. What attracted him to this project? It couldn't have been the script, which is about as hackneyed as any ever written -- there is absolutely NOTHING original or scintillating about the plot or dialogue. (In case you don't know, the story takes place in 1925. George plays an aging professional football player facing the grim realization that while college football is incredibly popular with the fans, nobody cares about pro ball and he's about to be out of a job. He recruits famed college player/WWI hero John Krasinski to play on his team and bolster the sport's visibility; Renee Zellweger plays a reporter who's been assigned to see if Krasinski's war hero story is all it's cracked up to be. Hilarity, supposedly, ensues.) Clooney's idea of directing comedy seems to be encouraging all of his actors, especially himself, to behave as hammily as possible. Zellweger, who on her best day I find mildly irritating and completely overrated, seemed to want to emulate the brilliant Rosalind Russell "girl reporter" part in the nearly perfect His Girl Friday, but she's not even as good as the awful Jennifer Jason Leigh role in The Hudsucker Proxy. Jonathan Pryce, what are you doing in this piece of shit? John Krasinski is the only major player who doesn't make an ass of himself, mostly because he's so bland that he fades into the background. And Renee, for shame, trying to pass yourself off as a 31-year-old: if you're going to make the attempt, at least hire hair and makeup artists who will not undermine your efforts.
I did like the costumes. Renee wore some cute hats and George looks mmmm-mmmm good in a leather bomber jacket.
Norman and I usually have a pleasant time, after both good and bad movies, discussing what we've seen and which parts of the film worked or didn't work. Leatherheads managed to elicit only a couple of yawns, a "How tedious!" and a brief conversation about where to go for dessert. We ended up at Bob's Big Boy in Burbank, where we enjoyed dessert and split a delicious order of onion rings with blue cheese dressing, which gave me terrible heartburn. We chatted about many things, including Norman's mother, whom I have never met but like immensely. She has been receptive to a number of books I've recommended, including Smonk, Away, and, most recently, The Giant's House. Somehow Norman ended up recounting a conversation he had with his mom some time back, during which she said, "I wish I had a good gay friend, because I have a LOT of questions."