Clearly, not everything George Clooney touches turns to gold, as evidenced by the mixed reviews and subpar box office for his football period pic”Leatherheads.” Yet, the hit-and-miss aspect of screwball comedy is sometimes better tolerated at home than in an ever-increasingly expensive evening out at the multiplex. That being said, as a DVD package, this one doesn’t fumble as badly as one might think.
Clooney both directs and stars as an over-the-hill player (a pigskin equivalent to Kevin Costner’s Crash Davis) who tries to bring some financial muscle to the pro game by finagling college sensation Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski, “The Office,” as an homage to Red Grange) to join the Duluth Bulldogs for a few games.
The script, by Duncan Brantley and Sports Illustrated’s Rick Reilly, tries to recapture a time when witty repartee — mostly between Clooney and Chicago Tribune reporter Renee Zellweger — was all that was needed for bigscreen success. Sometimes the fast-paced zingers work, other times they fall flat.
Extras don’t amount to much. “The Making of ‘Leatherheads’” gives viewers a sense of what it took to recreate the 1920s in terms of costume design, production values and various props. “No Pads, No Fear: Creating the Rowdy Football Scenes” covers how the actors had to adapt to playing with an oversized football, while also learning to throw and tackle without hurting themselves. Not exactly the prep to “Saving Private Ryan” in terms of terms of intensity.
Most interesting featurette were the visual effects sequences in which a split-screen uncovers how the extras in the stadium — and the stadium itself — have been digitally inserted during the film’s post-production process.