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Playing for Keeps
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Reviews & Ratings for
Playing for Keeps More at IMDbPro »

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40 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

A Pleasant Date Night Diversion

7/10
Author: markc14 from United States
4 December 2012

Just saw Playing for Keeps at a preview screening last night. Few script surprises in this stock-standard romantic comedy. If you didn't see the end coming in the first 20 minutes, you weren't paying attention. Still, a pleasant date night diversion nonetheless.

Direction and photography were above average. All the actors played their parts up to the very limits of the script. Gerard Butler was quite believable in his role as the womanizing ex- soccer star ready to be a grownup. Female members of the audience voiced their approval of him right on cue throughout the movie. His lifelong real-world enthusiasm for soccer (particularly the Celtics) shone though in quite a number of scenes.

The entourage of swooning soccer moms was also a treat to watch. Judy Greer stole the show in her role as Barb. Her mercurial mood changes were simply hilarious. Dennis Quaid's turn as a mysteriously wealthy local businessman and paranoid husband was a hoot. I can't recall many roles he's played that offered the peculiar mix of affable good guy/sinister bad guy seen here.

Not a chance you'll see this film on stage at Oscar time, but it's worth the price of admission. Recommended.

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34 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

Save this one for DVD

5/10
Author: Melina Gunnett from Portland
7 December 2012

I came, I sat, I watched and... well that's about it. I don't have anything bad to say about the movie, but I don't really have anything good to say about it either. Playing for keeps was a pleasant enough love story, but there really wasn't much there to hold my attention. Maybe if I was a HUGE soccer fan... but probably not.

The story was about a man, George (Gerard Butler), who screwed up his marriage and is trying to win back both his wife and son. Butler and Biel (who plays the ex-wife Stacie) both put in a good performance  but I didn't feel any chemistry between them. The only character I felt any connection with was the kid, Lewis (Noah Lomax).

Throughout the movie we kept hearing about how exciting and fun George was, but I failed to see it. Dennis Quaid does put in a fantastic performance as the reprehensible Carl.

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40 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

An honest movie.

9/10
Author: dariotroiani from United Kingdom
7 December 2012

An honest movie, well acted, well written and well directed. Somehow refreshing to see a comedy that could it go wrong easily and instead was delivered in a classy and delicate manner. Honesty is the best attribute to describe this movie; it is never over the top, and it doesn't pretend to be what is not. A classic comedy about becoming an adult with a good set of values. Gerard plays his role in a credible tone as all his co-stars, Jessica is fantastic and gives a very strong performance. How you know is a good performance? because you'll believe her. The young Noah performance holds next to the others. Special mention to all the secondary characters that played their best with the roles. I wish more movies like this one will get out there and be seeing. The Italian Helmer "Gabriele" did the best thing that a director can do: make the movie work as a whole with a seamless direction. Well done and highly recommended.

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27 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

A waste of talent all around

4/10
Author: chodorov from Germany
19 February 2013

I was very much looking forward to seeing this movie because of the stars and supporting roles, as well. I was heartily disappointed. I like Gerard Butler, and enjoyed him in the movie, but the movie was incredibly slow even for me, someone who is not into action movies. But there was too little here. Too many talented women making fools of themselves, and Dennis Quaid was thoroughly wasted as a philandering husband jealous of his wife. Outside of the main characters, all of the roles were flat and without much personality. Butler isn't the only actor who made a mistake to accept this script. Butler and Biel were the only ones with anything to work with, and they did their best, but the script was simply a failure. This was not even good enough for TV, let alone a motion picture. Save your time and money and watch something else! This is one case in which the critics were right. No wonder this was a box office flop.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

More Drama Than Comedy Film Underrated By Critics

7/10
Author: drpakmanrains from United States
7 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I rarely see movies when they first open anymore, but went to this one because I liked Gerard Butler in "Dear Frankie" and "Law Abiding Citizen", the former more than the latter. The critics have almost unanimously panned this film, but I liked the trailers and the idea of Butler playing a soccer coach. The film itself is a traditional romantic comedy in form, but there is very little real comedy. There are maybe two laughs and a few chuckles. The story is about a divorced father, once a great soccer pro, who, like many athletes, has let his family life suffer as he succumbed to the many perks of fame. He wants to reconnect with his son and his ex, but she is about to marry her more mature boyfriend with whom she has been with for about three years. I think the biggest weakness of the film was the succession of women who throw themselves at Butler once he agrees to coach his son's soccer team. I know women today are more socially aggressive than back in the 50's and 60's when I grew up, but the one after the other pacing in the film became rather silly and annoying. Are all unhappily married or divorced women today so needy as to embarrass themselves as portrayed here? It was supposed to be funny I suppose, but it fell flat. The rest of the film, while rather predictable, was well done and satisfying. Not overly sentimental, but emotional enough to engage the viewer. And contrary to some, I felt that there was good chemistry between Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel, particularly in the last third of the film. Not great, but rather likable and much better than the critic fraternity would have you believe. I predict the film will do better than expected, though not be a smash hit. I liked it better than "Moonrise Kingdom", perhaps not a fair comparison, as I hate Wes Anderson Films, and enjoyed this director's previous films, "The Pursuit of Happiness" and "Seven Pounds".

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Formulaic but barely tolerable film

5/10
Author: estebangonzalez10 from Ecuador
1 March 2013

¨How do you get to meet so many hot women? –I have an accent.¨

Director Gabriele Muccino has been successful in the past (The Pursuit of Happiness and Seven Pounds), but in Playing for Keeps he seems to have lost his touch. Everything that can go wrong in a movie goes wrong here with a very formulaic and cliché script, a predictable story, and some over the top performances. Dennis Quaid seems to be playing the same role he played in What to Expect When Your Expecting with a very eccentric approach that hurts the movie even more and presents it in a very cartoonish way. Gerard Butler is another talented actor who seems to have lost his touch as well in the recent years with some bad films. Not even the beautiful and talented ladies (Catherine Zeta Jones, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, and Judy Greer) were enough to save this terrible movie. The main problem was its script which was written by Robbie Fox who hadn't written a screenplay since 1994 (the terrible In The Army Now) and shouldn't have even considered making a comeback. What I can say about this film is that despite not being funny it is tolerable. It is not one of those films that bore you to death; but it is completely predictable and cliché. I wouldn't say this is completely a family friendly film despite the happy ending considering the main character is kind of a playboy. Despite the interesting cast this film is completely lazy and empty.

The story centers on George (Gerard Butler) a successful soccer player who played in important clubs across Europe and ended his career in the MLS. He hasn't had the same success in his retirement and has failed in a couple of business enterprises. George decides to move to Virginia where his ex-wife, Stacie (Jessica Biel), lives along with their young son Lewis (Noah Lomax). He wants to be a better father and therefore moves close to their home so he can spend some more time with him. Stacie is living with her fiancé, Matt (James Tupper), and they both agree that George be closer to Lewis. While George is trying to find a job as a sports anchor, he begins coaching his son's soccer team. Since he was a well known player all the parents agree he should coach the team and they are all exited that he has decided to be involved, especially the moms which include Patti (Uma Thurman), Denise (Catherine Zeta Jones), and Barb (Judy Greer). Barb is an emotional recently divorced mother, Denise is a former successful TV anchor who offers to help George in achieving his goal, and Patti is a seductive woman who is married to the rich, but manic, Carl (Dennis Quaid). George's soccer career might be over, but he finds quite a local fan base as a coach. His success with the ladies continues, but he doesn't want that to be a distraction as he becomes more and more involved in the life of his son. He also discovers that he has feelings for Stacie, and we all know where this film is heading from there.

There is not much more I can say about this extremely formulaic film. Don't be fooled by this family friendly film because it is kind of creepy in a way with the main character having all these moms stocking him. The impressive cast isn't enough to save this film since it has a terrible script and the performances were really lazy. Jessica Biel received a Razzie nomination for her performance in this film along with her work in Total Recall, but who I think was really terrible here was Dennis Quaid. The only believable thing about the film was the soccer choreographies which were done really well. They didn't seem as fake as in some other soccer movies. This is a very forgettable film, but it was tolerable and some of my family members had a good time.

http://estebueno10.blogspot.com/

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16 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

A real keeper, so its very discouraging to see national critics slam sweet films like this

8/10
Author: Amy Adler from Toledo, Ohio
13 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

George (Gerard Butler) is a washed up soccer star. Oh, there was a time when he had it all, a beautiful wife, Stacy (Jessica Beil), a darling son, Lewis (Noah Lomax) and a jet-setting career. But, once he retired, he foolishly lost it all, through skirt-chasing, bad investments, and lousy parenting. Stacy lives in the DC area, with new fiancé, Matt (James Tupper) and her growing son and, after years of wandering, that's where George has rented a small carriage house near a larger mansion. Although he is trying to make it as a television broadcaster, his present job situation is "iffy". Nevertheless, the aging has-been makes it clear to his ex that he is keen to develop a better relationship with his son and is "sticking around". This throws Stacy into a tizzy, as it was much easier for her to write him out of her life in absentia. As Lewis is a member of a local little league soccer team, George shows up to watch his son play. All too soon it becomes obvious that the present coach is too busy with work calls to give his full attention to the kids. Subtly, George gives out advice and, before long, the parents, especially Karl (Dennis Quaid) wants George to run the show. Then, too, Karl's gorgeous wife, Patti (Uma Thurman), an attractive divorcée, Denise (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and an insecure single mother, Barb (Judy Greer) also are glad to have a handsome man like George in close proximity. With women at his heels and fathers handing him cash and cars, will this distract George from his real "goal", which is to win Stacy back? What a very enjoyable film this is, a real keeper, combining fun, glamour, and serious issues. Butler does a great job as the man who is just learning to act like an adult while Biel gives a sensitive, low-key performance as Stacy. Wow, does Thurman, Z-Jones, and Greer look sensational as they give fine support! Lomax is a cute, talented child star while Quaid has the obnoxious, rich mogul act down pat. Only Tupper's "nice guys have no lines" role is disappointing, for he deserves more. Also, the Virginia setting is lovely, while the costumes, script, and studied direction do well in enhancing the story. So, dear ladies and truly anyone who wants a break from superheroes, vampires, zombies, gangsters or action movies, this flick has a evening of delight waiting for you. Buy tickets soon.

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16 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

More Hallmark Made for TV movie than big screen production

7/10
Author: tundraguy from United States
7 December 2012

Romantic comedy. Say it with me. Romantic comedy. Former star athlete, broken marriage, cute kid. Lots of sexual tension. I wanted to laugh at the many of what I thought were funny lines, but I wasn't feeling it from the rest of the audience. Although the movie was entertaining, there was something lacking in the script that made this all-star cast of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman, Dennis Quaid and Judy Greer seem more satirical in their overstated roles. Jessica Biel was the stable force playing the the former wife of the soccer great. Gerard Butler was believable as the former star now struggling to find his spot in a second career after sports.

Overall I thought it was enjoyable. The movie did not drag and had some great feel good moments. However I thought I was watching a made for TV movie. The story was very predictable as are most of your romantic comedies.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Uninspired by Playing for Keeps

4/10
Author: sschweitzer2 from Philadelphia, USA
7 December 2012

Gerard Butler plays George, a former soccer star who now finds himself on hard times apparently from squandering his resources. He finds himself living in Virginia so he can be close to his estranged son, Lewis (Noah Lomax) and ex-wife, Stacie (Jessica Biel). When George begins coaching his son's soccer team, it isn't long before all the hot soccer moms start noticing him. I thought this was supposed to be a romantic comedy but I have to tell you, I barely chuckled twice. Playing for Keeps offers a star-studded supporting cast, including, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Judy Greer and Dennis Quaid; but, surprisingly, I found the funniest character out of the bunch to be George's nosy landlord, Pramam, played by actor Iqbal Theba. Such fantastic actors but sadly the director simply did not utilize their talent to the fullest. This movie really had so much more potential. I really enjoyed the cinematography although the lighting a bit dim for me. The location was very beautiful. The first 30-45 minutes was entirely too slow for even my liking. At some point after that, it finally started to pick up but for lack of a better description, it simply felt very flat to me. I wanted to like this movie and I wanted to like the characters even more, but it just never happened for me. Granted, Gerry and Jessica are beautiful actors but the chemistry between then was lacking. Again, just didn't feel it. More laughs, humor and spirit would have been a pleasant and satisfying consolation, but one that never came.

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20 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

How many can relate?...I mean really

7/10
Author: coastdaze from United States
7 December 2012

OK, so it's a showcase for Gerard Butler's charm and good looks. That's why I went in the first place. But he can act and it was an entertaining couple of hours. It's a formula movie, romantic-comedy, that worked for me. You got to go expecting to see an age-old story - but with different actors and a different storyline. Jessica Biel is a beauty...have always liked her and she's a good actress. These two have a chemistry that is not overbearing but sweet and easy to watch. The young actor who plays the son is adorable and pretty good. What I found interesting is stars like Catherine Zeta-Jone, Uma Thurmon and Dennis Quaid playing such quirky characters. While they did a good job, I didn't really like watching them play these types of people. For some reason it took away from the movie rather than added to it, for me. But all in all, I enjoyed the movie, got teary-eyed because I could relate to having a relationship with this type of man and left wishing Gerard Butler was playing the Jack Reacher part. I think he'd be a good action hero-type.

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