By Mark Ramsey | 2008/04/07

A period piece.

About the only way for a period piece to capture the box office is for it to mount an army of Orcs or to be set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Leatherheads lacks the Orcs, but it does feature John Krasinski, better known as “the guy from NBC’s hit comedy The Office.”


In fact, there it is right in the credits: “The guy from NBC’s hit comedy The Office.”

Said one Hollywood spokesperson: “We’re intent on making the guy from NBC’s hit comedy The Office a star because, frankly, the Josh Hartnett and Chris O’Donnell thing didn’t work out very well.”

What could be more appealing than a movie set amidst the birth of pro football?

Anything, right?

Now I don’t know about you, but unless pro football exits the womb with two heads and no appetite like Nicole Richie’s baby, color me uninterested.

Jeepers creepers, it’s 1925! And that “Brice” who’s an American Idol is “Fanny.”

So mind your potatoes, mac, and don’t take any wooden nickels. And if you string together enough era-appropriate jargon you, too, might come up with a screenplay fit enough for George Clooney and Renee Zellweger.

Wouldn’t that be swell?

Clooney swaps the aura of Cary Grant for the glow of Clark Gable in a role Gable is too dead to play. “Actually, I turned this one down,” said Gable, who’s touring with the McCain campaign. “Those leather helmets looked too much like penises. And if I’m huddling with a penis on my head, some palooka’s getting socked in the kisser!”

Zellweger, meanwhile, channels her inner Rosalind Russell – or Jean Arthur – or Fay Wray – or any brassy dame who worked for the press back in the day, see?

And how!


There’s Renee, with lipstick Rose McGowan-red and cigarette perched on her fingers like a totem, a graven image. Worship ye the bounty of North Carolina federal tobacco subsidies, mac! And stop with the heebie-jeebies!

Renee is “Lexy” and Clooney is “Dodge.”

“Ya know, doll, when we get hitched our kids will be ‘Packard’ and ‘Flivver,’” said Clooney, whose imagination is limited only by whatever jalopy’s in front of the juice joint.

“You got moxie, kid,” says Clooney.

“Four months of marriage to Kenny Chesney and a history with Jim Carrey will do that, bud.” says Zellweger.

Picture The Natural without anyone who actually is. Visualize a jazz-age Randy Newman score that feels as warm as a knickerbockered newsboy shrieking “Extr-ee! Extr-ee! Read all about it! Clooney pic opens to guffaws and yawns as Kevin Spacey Vegas Romp trounces in second week!”

Gin mills go goofy on the news!

There’s plenty of good-natured slapstick here. But instead of laurels and hardy laughs we get Laurel & Hardy.

This confection couldn’t be lighter if it was spun from cotton candy and floated like an airship over the World’s Fair. You’ll forget this movie by the end of this sentence.

What movie, right?

I don’t want to be a wet blanket, boys, but here’s the skinny: Unless it’s raw Clooney-ness you seek (and that cup of Vitalis runneth over), or unless you think Zellweger’s gams are the cat’s meow, then scram before you upchuck.

This picture’s a stinker, and it ain’t worth your jack.

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More about this movie at AskMen.com


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