Back in 1925, professional football was nothing like it is today. There was no football commissioner, there were few rules, and there was very little recognition for a job well done. In fact, the only men playing it were the men who simply loved the game.
One such was Dodge Connelly (George Clooney). He’s in his mid-forties and has the gray hairs to prove it, but football is his passion. It’s all he knows. When his team’s sponsor bails due to lack of public interest, Dodge decides to do whatever he can to save the team.
Touting a few little white lies, he manages to convince the nation’s top college football player to come join their team. A war hero, Carter Rutherford is America’s golden boy. He’s smart, he’s athletic, he’s patriotic, and Dodge thinks that with Carter’s appeal, they’ll be able to draw the crowds and finally see some cash come in at the box office.
However, there’s a problem with Carter’s story—he’s not a war hero. Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger), reporter for the Chicago Tribune, has a hot tip that Carter has been lying about his deeds of bravery on the battlefield. Her editor promises her a nice promotion if she can get the truth, so that’s exactly what she decides to do.
Telling Carter she wants to do a story on him, but not what kind of story, she follows Dodge’s team as they travel around the country, and she interviews Carter every chance she gets. As she and Carter grow closer in a journalistic sense, she and Dodge grow closer romantically, although on the surface, they fight like cats and dogs. Yeah, that’s chemistry for you.
When Carter finally breaks down and reveals the truth to Lexie, she’s torn. Carter’s a good kid; he just got confused along the way, and she’s not sure if she should write the expose or not. But when Carter’s agent makes a veiled threat, she realizes she has to tell the story for the sake of honesty.
The film is rated PG-13 for two fistfights and rough skirmishes on the football field. It also contained some language that didn’t bother me personally, but might be of concern to a more sensitive viewer than myself.
This movie is full of great humor, inspiring moments of true sportsmanship, and did I mention it stars George Clooney? I can think of few better reasons to see a film than those. Clooney not only stars but directs, and does a really good job with this film that will leave you cheering at the end.
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