Playing for Keeps
Playing for Keeps
by Eric D. Snider
Released: December 7, 2012
"Playing for Keeps" is the bargain of the season. No matter what kind of drab, derivative fluff you prefer, this exceptionally toothless comedy has something to offer!
Do you like forgettable movies about a charming but mildly irresponsible man who has it all, loses everything, and learns What's Really Important? Do you prefer a "Bad News Bears"-style story about a raggedy sports team whose fortunes are changed by an unorthodox new leader? Or would you rather see a tacky comedy about suburban soccer moms being overprotective of their precious snowflakes and throwing themselves sexually at the hunky coach?
"Playing for Keeps" is all of these things -- and more! And less. So much more, and so much less.
Gerard Butler gives a typical Gerard Butler performance -- friendly, eager to please, and largely unsatisfying -- as George Dryer, a once-successful pro soccer player who has fallen on hard times. Why? Dunno. The opening montage of news clips makes passing mention of an injury, but it's the only reference in the entire film, and there's no evidence of it in present-day George. Nor is there an explanation for what became of George's money, or how long ago he quit soccer, or why he has suddenly moved to Virginia to be near his ex-wife and son. It's as if there's a reel missing from the beginning of the movie (not that I am asking for the movie to be longer).
Hounded by creditors and his landlord, George sets his sights on a new career as a TV sportscaster. In the meantime, to placate his ex-wife, Stacie (Jessica Biel), and to spend time with their 9-year-old son, Lewis (Noah Lomax), George agrees to coach Lewis' soccer team. This delights the other players' moms, who immediately set out to have sex with George. The weepy basket case (Judy Greer), the driven career woman who coincidentally is a sportscaster (Catherine Zeta-Jones), the wife of the team's sponsor (Uma Thurman) -- every lady's loins start a-moistenin' when George Dryer strides into view!
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Rated PG-13, a little profanity, some mild sexual situations
1 hr., 46 min.
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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