Critic Reviews



Based on 26 critic reviews provided by
A sloppy, poorly focused comedy.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Boston Globe
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.
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.
Simply put, it's a mess.
Slant Magazine
Gabriele Muccino's film is knee-deep in "don't hate the player, hate the game" territory.

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