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Playing for Keeps

Comedy . Romance . Sport

A former sports star who's fallen on hard times starts coaching his son's soccer team in an attempt to get his life together.

Actors: Gerard Butler , Jessica Biel , Uma Thurman , Catherine Zeta-Jones , Iqbal Theba , Sean O'Bryan , Dennis Quaid , Judy Greer , Noah Lomax , James Tupper
Directors: Gabriele Muccino
Country: USA
Release: 2012-12-07
More Info:
  • Liam Lacey

    Though the script takes pains to paint George as a passive boy-man, there's just not enough lovable here and too much of the thoughtless lout. Butler beware: In acting as in soccer, if you keep taking dives, sooner or later you pay the penalty.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    As a movie, it's not much. But it's the best showcase for his charm that Butler has ever had.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    Jessica Biel all but steals the show as Stacie.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Betsy Sharkey

    At some point you hope the actor (Butler) will find a movie that will give him the right material to make hearts truly beat faster. Until then, it appears we'll have to settle for films with more flaws than his characters.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    A sloppy, poorly focused comedy.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Darren Franich

    The central question of the movie becomes: Can George triumph over his inability to stop hot women from throwing themselves at him?

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    Sometimes the movie swerves toward farce, sometimes into the zone of smiley family comedy and at other times into full-on weepiness. None of it is especially credible or engaging.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    Perhaps, if this movie fails, studios will finally accept that we all deserve better. Biel knows it already, and Butler keeps up in their scenes together.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Louis Black

    Watching this all-too-predictable romantic comedy/drama, my overwhelming thought was this: Given all the great filmmakers and film projects that can't find funding, how did this effort secure its reported $35 million for production?

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Stephen Farber

    This is a good premise for a comedy, but somewhere along the way, it got diluted and turned into a sappy, feel-good story of family togetherness.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    A modestly affecting reconciliation drama wrapped in a so-so sports movie by way of a misogynistic romantic comedy, Playing for Keeps can't stop tripping all over itself.

    Variety Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Only Biel and Greer lift it above the level of bleh.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    The shenanigans of randy soccer moms and their obnoxious blowhard husbands are intended as comic relief. But the sappy plot of this formulaic romantic comedy is just as silly as its inane attempts at farce.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Carrie Rickey

    This saga of a former soccer star coaching his son's team in order to worm his way back into the heart of his ex-wife aims to be warm and funny. Alas, it is mechanical and exhausting, like a windup toy of a monkey crashing together cymbals for 106 minutes while incrementally winding down.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    This isn't a genre-less character study, it's myopic romantic comedy, and watching a woman of Catherine Zeta-Jones's easy carnality and fathomless beauty compete for the attention of Gerard Butler, who's pining for Jessica Biel, is dismaying, like spotting Anna Wintour in line at a soup kitchen.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Melissa Anderson

    Yet it's not entirely forgettable. I'll long be haunted by Dennis Quaid's manic performance as a palm-greasing dad who seems to be under the influence of bath salts-tweaked-out acting that matches the camera movements.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Mark Jenkins

    Style can be a risky thing in a movie like this, which aspires above all to inoffensiveness. Originally titled "Playing the Field," which was deemed too racy, this rom-com would have been more aptly renamed "Running Out the Clock."

    NPR Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    Simply put, it's a mess.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    A dreary, dismally unfunny excuse for a romantic comedy.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    There isn't a moment in the entire picture in which you will recognize an element of your own life.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Ken McIntyre

    Playing For Keeps is awful – and not in a hilarious Ed Wood way.

    Total Film Full Review
  • A. A. Dowd

    Husbands and fathers, do not try this sh-- at home. Such "lovable" misbehavior is best left to the professional cads.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    The film is a bedroom farce without the farce, a fish-out-of-water comedy on sun-cracked lake-bed, a story of fatherly redemption that barely gets past the hair-mussing stage.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    One of those movies that comes "straight from the heart" - the heart of the hack screenwriter's manual that pushes formulaic structure to cover up a lack of compelling characters, genuine emotion or actual humor.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Eric Henderson

    Gabriele Muccino's film is knee-deep in "don't hate the player, hate the game" territory.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Just stay away. It's awful.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
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