Like the 1925 ragtag professional football team it follows, this movie has more high spirits than ability to deliver.
George Clooney directs and stars in this affectionate tribute to 1920’s “professional” football and 1930’s movie comedies, but it it captures more of the letter than the (high) spirit of the rat-a-tat-tat dialogue and ebullient effervescence of those Turner Classic Movie channel-worthy gems. It is entertaining without being especially memorable.
Clooney plays Dodge Connelly, a player on a failing team in a failing league. In 1925, football was a college sport. Cheering crowds filled college stadiums while professional football was disorganized on and off the field — or cow pasture, as the case might be. Dodge decides to recruit the top college player, Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski of The Office), who is not only a football hero but a real American WWI hero as well. Carter agrees to leave school because Dodge guarantees him a ton of money and because he is very happy to have a chance to keep playing. He is guided on this by his agent, CC Frazier (suitably, if silkily, satanic Jonathan Pryce), a character who raises the intriguing Jerry Maguire-ish question of whether pro sports would have been created without pressure from pro agents.