No director-star in movies has a better gut understanding of the Great American Circus and the lost glamour of masculine heroism than George Clooney. His low-key new comedy, Leatherheads, is erratic - sometimes slicker than pomade and sometimes sloppier than a mud bath. But it's also feisty and good-humored, and if it doesn't have deep characters, it is chock-full of personality.
Clooney savors the feckless good times of 1925, when the Twenties were in full roar. He plays a grizzled pro football player named Dodge Connolly who revives his bankrupt team, the Duluth Bulldogs, by signing a college phenom and World War I hero, Carter "the Bullet" Rutherford (John Krasinski). At the same time, an enterprising Chicago Tribune reporter, Lexie Littleton (Renee Zell- weger), gets close to Carter to expose the hype behind his war record.
Leatherheads (Universal Pictures) Starring George Clooney, Renee Zellweger, John Krasinski. Directed by George Clooney. Rated PG-13 for brief strong language. Time 114 minutes.