(out of 5)
An unfortunate misfire given the talent involved. George Clooney directs this uneven comedy set in 1925, the early days of professional football, when college games had money and panache and professional matches were played in the dirt. Clooney, owner of his team and also a player, decides not to take it lying down when the league loses its sponsorship and the teams all go broke. He uses his magical recruiting skills to convince a star college player and war hero (John Krasinski) to play for him, raising the profile of the team and kickstarting the business of football. Complicating matters is, of course, a girl: a nosy reporter (Renee Zellweger) has been assigned the task of discovering the secret behind Krasinski’s war hero status, but then also falls in love with Clooney and creates a difficult conflict of interest. It looks great, and sounds even better–Clooney and Zellweger have a few fun scenes rife with screwball-era witticisms–but the film constantly changes tones and focus. Krasinski fails to make his mark in the role, while Zellweger isn’t always believable, but these things would be forgiveable if Clooney’s direction had a little more snap to it, and if the running time wasn’t twenty minutes past where it should be.
Directed by George Clooney
Cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel
Music by Randy Newman
Production Design by James D. Bissell
Costume Design by Louise Frogley
Film Editing by Stephen Mirrione