Now here’s a counterintuitive marketing strategy: Put heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio on your poster, shot in unflattering white light, looking old, jowly and snarling. Presumably the promoters of “J. Edgar,” director Clint Eastwood’s biopic of long-time FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, know what they’re doing, but this DiCaprio looks less like the guy legions of office ladies want to date and more like their short-tempered, stubborn manager.
Poor Leo. He’s spent the better part of a decade now indulging his De Niro complex — from “The Aviator” through “The Departed,” “Blood Diamond” and “Shutter Island” — and he’s barely smiled on-screen the entire time. His post-“Titanic” quest to be taken seriously as an actor seems to involve looking serious all the time: Just look at those worry lines on his brow. “J. Edgar” is more of the same: old-man makeup, a paunch and a thoroughly dislikable character.