"Old Fashioned Fun"
What You Need To Know:
LEATHERHEADS is well made and entertaining, but it contains a few bad words, some violence, and the drinking and smoking common to movies about the period. MOVIEGUIDE® recommends caution because of these elements. LEATHERHEADS also does little to glorify God, though it concludes with healthy changes being made to the game of football. New rules restrain dirty play and the most dangerous blocking and tackling techniques. Thus, the movie glorifies the period where there were few limits to the game but it concludes with recognition of righteousness. Also to its credit, romance ends with marriage, not just sex.
(Pa, B, L, V, N, AAA, D, MM) Generally pagan, slightly mixed worldview where God and righteousness don’t matter and where making money on football and winning advancement in the newsroom serve as primary motivations, but near the end a more moral approach to the game, calling for rules and good public examples is instituted, with an unethical promoter tossed out of the game; five light obscenities and three profanities; there is ample football violence and there are several fistfights but they are old-school with little blood and comic lines interspersed; there is romantic interest, including kissing, but no sex; brief locker room upper male nudity; there is heavy alcohol use including drunkenness and drunken brawling (during Prohibition); some smoking; and, dishonesty and bribery.
LEATHERHEADS is an old-fashioned romance set at the dawn of professional football in 1925. The often-clever dialogue is reminiscent of the old days of Hollywood.
Renee Zellweger plays Lexie Littleton, a sassy reporter sent to uncover damaging facts about war-hero-turned-college-football-star Carter Rutherford (played by John Krasinski of TV’s THE OFFICE). Dodge Connelly, a crusty pro football player and coach played by George Clooney, convinces Rutherford to turn pro and make money off his popularity. Dodge and Carter wind up competing for Lexie’s attention when she turns sports reporter while trying to get the dirt on Carter. The movie is well made and quite entertaining but it does include a few bad words, some violence and the drinking and smoking common to movies about the period. MOVIEGUIDE® recommends caution because of these elements.
What makes the movie so enjoyable is the feeling that you’re seeing a classic old movie modernized with great color, sound and detail. Streams of corny comebacks bring fond memories of Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT. Some audiences may be turned off by the corny old-school dialog. Others will find it fun. Regrettably, the movie stays true to one of the hazards of oldies. When you go back to catch some classics of the 30s it can be stunning to see how lightly they took smoking and drinking. LEATHERHEADS, set during Prohibition, has speakeasy scenes with ample drunkenness and brawling.
While the movie is meant to be pure entertainment, there are some lessons to be learned about heroism. Often heroes don’t strike out to accomplish something heroic. They just happen to do the right thing at the right time. Once the hero label lands on someone, their story can rapidly grow more heroic. Perhaps the best-known hero in history was King David who, as a boy, slew Goliath. His greatest strength was in giving the glory to God. David knew that God was the true hero and he loved to praise God in word and in song. Sadly, heroes have flaws, including King David (remember Bathsheba). In LEATHERHEADS, the hero’s flaws are exposed and compounded but finally faced in a satisfying manner.
LEATHERHEADS is entertaining but does little to glorify God. It does conclude with healthy changes being made to the game of football. New rules restrained dirty play and the most dangerous blocking and tackling techniques. Rules called for all people involved in the game to be better public examples. Unscrupulous people could be tossed out of the game for life. On one hand, the movie glorifies a period in football where there were no rules, but it concludes with at least one popular ruling favoring righteousness. Also to its credit, romance ends with marriage, not just sex.