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DVD Review: Playing for Keeps

March 12, 2013

Playing for Keeps DVD CoverPlaying for Keeps – A VVS Films’ Release

DVD Release Date: March 12th, 2013

Rated PG for language

Running time: 105 minutes

Gabriele Muccino (dir.)

Robbie Fox (writer)

Andrea Guerra (music)

Gerard Butler as George

Jessica Biel as Stacie

Noah Lomax as Lewis

Dennis Quaid as Carl

Our reviews below:


Playing for Keeps DVD Review By John C.

*1/2 (out of 4)

George (Gerard Butler) is a well meaning former soccer player who starts coaching his son Lewis’ (Noah Lomax) team, only to fall back in love with his ex-wife Stacie (Jessica Biel).  But he also catches the attention of the smarmy Carl (Denis Quaid) and several soccer moms (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman and Judy Greer), an obnoxiously stereotypical group of women who show no self respect as they keep throwing themselves at him in the most ridiculously contrived ways.

This premise becomes so wildly predictable, that Playing for Keeps ends up feeling like an insult to the audience, making us question the intentions of the cast.  The film has the feel of a cheap cable movie from the 1990s, and I mean that in the worst possible way.  Although Gerard Butler is surprisingly decent as he leads the charge, this is an insultingly predictable romantic comedy for soccer moms, and even the most mainstream of audiences deserve a whole lot better.

The DVD includes no bonus features.


Playing for Keeps DVD Review By Erin V.

*1/2 (out of 4)

In Playing for Keeps, Gerard Butler plays a former pro soccer player who is trying to regain his relationship with his 9-year-old son.  When he comes back to town, he ends up the new coach for his son’s soccer team.  Soon every soccer mom is throwing themselves at him in the most demeaning way to themselves.  Gerard Butler is fine here although is working with shoddy material.  And surprisingly, it is the female characters in this film that perpetuate stupid stereotypes about themselves while he keeps trying to get them to stop showing up in his house uninvited.

Meanwhile, add a jealous sycophant soccer dad to the mix, and a clichéd plot line about Butler’s character trying to get back with the mother of his son, who is weeks from marrying another guy, and you get a film that really doesn’t give you much.  It could have been a family film about a dad reconnecting with his son through soccer, but instead it has way too many sexual references for that, and becomes something that doesn’t have much of a target.


Playing for Keeps DVD Review By Nicole

** (out of 4)

Playing for Keeps tells a predictable story about George Dryer (Gerard Butler), who is trying to reconnect with his son Lewis (Noah Lomax) by becoming his team’s soccer coach.  George manages to have every soccer mom dropping at his feet, yet he still loves Lewis’ mom, Stacie (Jessica Biel), and hopes they can get back together.

Playing for Keeps is mediocre and boring.  If it had left out the annoying drooling soccer moms it might have made an okay kids movie, but due to the sexual content it misses that mark. If you are still interested in this film, then borrow it from the library.


Playing for Keeps DVD Review By Maureen

*1/2 (out of 4)

Playing for Keeps could be more aptly called “Playing for Sleeps.”  That title would convey the boredom viewers might feel and the ridiculous plot of all of the soccer moms desperate to sleep with the lead character, former soccer star George Dryer (Gerard Butler).  On the surface, this is a sweet movie with a divorced Dad trying to spend quality time with his young son Lewis (Noah Lomax) by stepping in as his soccer team’s coach.  It turns out that George has a knack for coaching that on the plus side has his ex-wife Stacie (Jessica Biel) taking notice and Lewis enjoying time with Dad.

On the not so great side, George attracts the attention of three soccer moms, Barb (Judy Greer), Patti (Uma Thurman) and Denise (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who are throwing themselves at poor George every chance they get.  He isn’t interested for the most part – he still loves his ex-wife – but does give into temptation with one of them in exchange for a job interview as a sportscaster.  It’s not only the ladies who take notice of George.  Rich soccer Dad, Carl (Dennis Quaid) figures George is a cool addition to the parties he throws with his trophy wife Patti.

The problem with Playing for Keeps is that the only characters are are even mildly appealing are George, Stacie and Lewis.  The trio of soccer moms are annoying, as is Carl.  There aren’t any real laughs in this movie, nor is there any sense of real drama.  The plot and the the outcome are predictable.  This is the kind of movie that will eventually get picked up in the $5 bin because someone is a fan of the actors.  This one passes the time if that’s all you’re looking for, but is forgettable once it’s over.


Playing for Keeps DVD Review By Tony

*1/2 (out of 4)

Playing for Keeps is about George (Gerard Butler), a former professional soccer player who moves to Virginia to pursue a new career as a sportscaster and spend time with his young son Lewis (Noah Lomax), whose mother Stacie (Jessica Biel) is about to remarry Matt (James Tupper). Seeing Lewis’ soccer team losing badly under indifferent management, George naturally steps in and takes over, immediately attracting the attention of soccer moms.

The divorced Barb (Judy Greer) is particularly desperate to hook up with him. Fellow sportscaster Denise (Catherine Zeta-Jones) gets him a break with ESPN and expects to get lucky in return. Carl (Dennis Quaid) is a wealthy boor who curries favour for his kids by throwing a lot of money at George and lending him his Ferrari. Carl’s philandering is matched only by jealousy for his wife Patti (Uma Thurman) who also tries to seduce George. As George grows closer to Lewis, his relationship to Stacie may also be rekindled.

Given its cast, Playing for Keeps should have been much better than it is. Unfortunately, except for Gerard Butler, who is likeable as a flawed but decent character, the mediocre script humourlessly reduces the others to unattractive stereotypes. Moreover, the Italian-American co-production largely outsourced to Bulgaria is barely good enough for TV let alone theatres, with DVD quality only marginally better than 1990s VHS tape. Finally, a musical score completely devoid of subtlety adds insult to injury.

If you still want to check out this film, wait till it comes out on free TV. Even a rental may be a waste of money.


Consensus: Although Gerard Butler is surprisingly decent in the leading role, Playing for Keeps is an insultingly predictable romantic comedy filled with obnoxious stereotypes, that has the feel of a cheap cable movie.  *1/2 (Out of 4)

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