Brief Thoughts: Playing For Keeps

Playing For Keeps:  1 1/2 out of 5

I honestly don't have a whole lot to say about this film, because it is terrible, but harmless.  If Gerard Butler wants to keep settling for these kinds of movies, fine, but I know he is capable of more.  In this film, Butler stars as George, a former professional football (soccer) player, who was forced to stop after an injury.  He has faced hard times since, including divorce from his wife (Jessica Biel), despite the fact that they both had a child together.  Now, with few options financially, George takes up the position as his son's head soccer coach.  In doing this, he attracts several of the soccer moms, including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman, and Judy Greer.  During this time, George contends with each of them, along with a soccer dad played by Dennis Quaid.  Going further, George finds himself in a position to get a sportscasting job for ESPN, yet he still has to consider what it would mean for spending time with his son and possibly making up with his ex.

This is the kind of feel good rom-com that I generally don't seek out, but even I was slightly intrigued by the concept.  It is just unfortunate that Dennis Quaid and every soccer mom in this film tried to see who could overact the most.  It does not help that Butler's character is an idiot.  Somehow, despite once being a superstar in the world of soccer, George is overtaken by the idea of people coming on to him and offering him more than he deserves, which leads to some 'hilarious and sticky' situations and unfortunately causes trouble with his own family.  Uh oh, what's George going to do?  Well, a constantly dour Jessica Biel is George's ultimate goal, so hopefully she'll be able to realize that her perfectly acceptable fiance is no match for what scruffy George has to offer.  Not helping at all is the weird shift between movies.  At some points it's a redemption story and other times a sexy farce about crazy soccer moms.  I think the movie even forgets it's about soccer at times.  Try as everyone does, even poor Judy Greer, who I love and wish could do something in a live-action feature that is as good as she is on Archer, this film is just a schmaltzy slog that is dumb and forgettable.  Actually, one last note - Dennis Quaid is embarrassingly bad in this movie and Thurman still tries to top him, just like when she did the same to Arnold in Batman & Robin.

Aaron is a writer/reviewer for  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at


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