I've read alot of reviews of the film and everyone points out its stylistic ties to classic hollywood screwball comedies (none of which, i regret to inform you, have been seen by me). I'm sorry, I just haven't gotten around to it, like i said, I'm the farthest thing from an expert. And since George Clooney rose to prominence in the 90's it seems every tom, dick and harry has been trying to peg him as the next "classic hollywood" leading man while completely overlooking one glaring similarity that Leatherheads had on full display.
Imagine the movie was made in 1969. Put Paul Newman in the George Clooney role and Robert Redford in the John Krasinski role, leave Randy Newman's score where its at and throw George Roy Hill behind the camera. I can totally see this as an alternate timeline follow-up to the success of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
Naturally, the age difference between Clooney and Krasinski is quite a bit larger than the age difference between Newman and Redford, but they're also brilliant actors who could completely pull it off.
So to me, Leatherheads was a throwback's throwback. A movie inspired by movies that were inspired by other movies. It was remarkably charming and witty, quickly paced and superbly acted (save for Renee Zellweger) and I'm actually a little surprised that that it hasn't shown up on more best of 2008 lists.
Then again, I'm not an expert and I have yet to see all the movies released in the past year, let alone all the movies released in the past 80.