Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
Watch On
  1. 83
    Football, they say, is a game of inches, and so can be moviemaking, and Leatherheads is a completely charming film that comes a few inches from being a great one.
  2. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    More amiable than witty and relying heavily on the likability and charm of its lead actors, Leatherheads scores more points as a retro romantic comedy than a football saga.
  3. 75
    Feisty and good-humored, and if it doesn't have deep characters, it is chock-full of personality.
  4. It's a pleasant time-killer, nothing more. But nothing less, either.
  5. 75
    Clooney and Zellweger play off each other perfectly, delivering their dialogue with the rhythm of a well-choreographed dance and falling in love in the time-honored tradition of '40s romantic comedies.
  6. 75
    Leatherheads is most on its game when it's in the game, and in the zone of Clooney's no-bull affection for the faces of his actors.
  7. In the end, Leatherheads recalls the gloriously dated sentiments of Grantland Rice, one of that era's beloved sportswriters, expressed 17 years earlier in the poem "Alumnus Football."
  8. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Maybe the film loses a little steam as it rolls along, but it is still puffing and tooting as Clooney and Zellweger ride off into the sunset -- on a comically raffish period motorcycle, free as the wind.
  9. Leatherheads proceeds agreeably, hitting occasional high notes when it isn't getting bogged down in forced slapstick hi-jinks.
  10. 67
    Too much of Leatherheads feels like studied motions, and its charms never plaster over a story that takes forever to get going, and doesn't go too far once it does.
  11. For all its other virtues, the supporting casting is lackluster, the script never quite kicks into place as a sports movie and Clooney the director seems to lack the touch that might have set the proceedings on fire as a zany ensemble comedy.
  12. You can’t read one of Clooney’s endless People profiles without hearing the Cary Grant comparison, but here, he’s all Gable – same rakishness and stubble and tanned-leather basso profundo.
  13. 63
    Far from a touchdown, but you gotta give points to any movie where a character describes its climactic game as a "muddy snoozefest."
  14. 63
    Leatherheads goes on a good 20 minutes too long, and there's very little in it that makes a lasting impression, but it's easy to watch while it's unspooling -- much like, you know, a lot of Cary Grant comedies.
  15. 63
    The film moves slowly and steadily, but it's never exactly dull, just mild.
  16. Reviewed by: Ryan Stewart
    If the raison d'être of Leatherheads was not to add something to the football movie canon but to have Clooney and Zellweger engage in a screwball banter-fest, then there's no excusing the paltry number of zinger missiles fired over the course of the film.
  17. A larky throwback to the breakneck screwballs of Frank Capra and Preston Sturges. Problem is, it isn't breakneck enough.
  18. 60
    Leatherheads is as trifling as Clooney’s second movie (“Good Night and Good Luck”) was significant, but that’s okay. It succeeds where so many other romantic comedies fail because of a superior script and because everyone involved has the good sense not to take themselves too seriously.
  19. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Better than a finger in your eye. It's a perfectly passable, if instantly forgettable, date movie, lushly shot by Newton Thomas Sigel and with a script intelligently versed in American classics like "His Girl Friday" and "Hail the Conquering Hero."
  20. Sidelined by a script that plays like an imitation of another era’s artifacts. It’s an oxymoron: a mild screwball romance.
  21. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    There's a flatness about the whole enterprise -- like drinking champagne, but from an old house slipper. Re: his performance, Clooney is terrific. His comparison to old movie stars is not just hype. He really does possess the combination of supreme confidence and humility that has been the hallmark of the biggest male Hollywood stars.
  22. 50
    A screwball comedy without a charismatic, smart-talking dame is no screwball comedy at all.
  23. Leatherhead's a comedy of stock setups and kooky digressions in which nothing really comes to a head, and running at close to two hours, it lacks the essential brevity of the form.
  24. Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufman
    There's a jaunty score by Randy Newman, and Clooney, as always, has charm to burn, but here, he's off his game.
  25. Frankly, Zellweger shouldn't have to compete with the ghosts of Rosalind Russell and Carole Lombard, as Clooney forces her to do. It's one thing to evoke the Champagne sophistication of the screwball era; it's another to try to emulate it. Inevitably, the harder you work at capturing madcap fizz, the flatter things are going to feel.
  26. 50
    You have to give Leatherheads this much: It's like no other comedy, or movie, out there these days. Clooney, one of our few old-style Hollywood movie stars himself, obviously loves old-fashioned moviemaking.
  27. It exudes goodwill and high spirits, occasionally makes you feel really good, and yet here and there and in some definite ways, it kinda sorta stinks.
  28. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    The great '30s comedies had edge, bite and relentless forward momentum. Leatherheads is laid-back, amiable and terminally tepid.
  29. Clooney, the film's director and star, can't make up his mind how to approach the story. One minute it's a romantic comedy. Then it switches to slapstick, then to screwball comedy before sliding into Frank Capra territory.
  30. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Arch and funny in equal measure, this looks like a theatrical non-starter that Clooney fans and football devotees might be tempted to check out down the line on DVD or on the tube.
  31. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    For its entire two hours, Leatherheads is rarely less than very promising--and also rarely more.
  32. Reproducing a period-piece screwball comedy for a modern audience turns out to be one playful, self-deprecating wink too many for the star, who also directed Leatherheads.
  33. Reviewed by: Simon Braund
    On paper it looks like a gem – roaring 20s setting, verbal fireworks and a silly sport in its rude infancy. In practice, it's way off the pace, far too slow for its screwball pretensions and the kind of film that confuses pastiche with period detail.
  34. 30
    What is harder to comprehend is how Mr. Clooney turned out such a sloppy, haphazard and tonally incoherent piece of work. Leatherheads lurches hectically between Coen brothers-style pastiche and John Saylesian didacticism, while Mr. Clooney works his brow and his jaw and waits in vain for his charm to kick in and save the day.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 17
  2. Negative: 5 out of 17
  1. Nov 15, 2013
    Leatherheads is daft.
    The movie at times is nearly unwatchable. The script is terrible, the actors suffer horribly from poor dialogue, and
    Leatherheads is daft.
    The movie at times is nearly unwatchable. The script is terrible, the actors suffer horribly from poor dialogue, and the overall result is just an inconsistent sports comedy with no real purpose. Leatherheads is a classic result of poor writing.
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 20, 2012
    George Clooney gives his all to make this an old fashioned romp and a good time. However, Kranski is to inexperienced to pull of his role andGeorge Clooney gives his all to make this an old fashioned romp and a good time. However, Kranski is to inexperienced to pull of his role and Zellweger is toxic in hers. In the end it's not good, bad, funny or sad. It's just boring. Full Review »
  3. AdamA.
    Oct 2, 2008
    Entertaining, but not great. However, being the only film about early football wins it some points.