By Ian McCreath

A 1930's style comedy about the early days of American football was always starting from a low point on the 'time to get excited' scale.

But 'Leatherheads, the latest directorial effort by George Clooney, even manages to go down hill from there.

It's not that I dislike the genre Clooney is seeking to recreate here- quite the opposite.

Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Clarke Gable are some of the greatest stars of all time, their films such as 'Bringing Up Baby', 'The Philadelphia Story' & 'It happened One Night' are amongst my favorite of all time.

But where they had a natural and effortless grace, this film feels like a cold reproduction.

Guilty of trying too hard, it  offers us nothing new. The effect is like using tracing paper on a Van Gogh and expecting people to pay to see your lifeless copy.

On the plus side Clooney manages to capture the feel of the age and it is good to look at. On the negative,  his direction lacks punch and the crucial banter between the leads is largely humourless and sparkless.

Clearly George feels he has earned the right to indulge in such ego soothing indulgences as this 'homage' to the screwball comedies of the 1930's.

But what have we done to deserve sitting through it?

Dull and lifeless- 'Leatherheads' is more medicine ball than screwball.

Leatherheads is out to own on DVD on 18th August 2008.



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