Playing for Keeps
Tagline: This Holiday Season, What Do You Really Want?
When the likes of Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid star in romantic comedies, you don’t exactly cancel all existing plans to witness the end product. And it’s arguable that Playing for Keeps, which is about a former soccer star George Dryer (Butler), who comes back home in an attempt to try and get his life together by reconnecting with his ex-wife (Biel) and son (Noah Lomax), isn’t going to buck that particular trend.
Still, let’s play this out: Can you imagine how he tries to rebuild the relationship with his son? That’s right, by coaching his soccer team. And when you consider that he has to simultaneously deal with all those soccer moms, you genuinely fear that the audience may not make it to full time.
The soccer world is more than accustomed with a final score of nil and, sadly for director Gabriele Muccino (best known for The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds), at the time of writing, 0% is his new movie’s current score on Rotten Tomatoes. “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,” begins the Hollywood Reporter. “This one’s no keeper.” Glenn Kenny at MSN Movies is even less charitable. “Playing for Keeps wants to run and kick feel-good moments through the goalposts, but it limps and wheezes from the opening faceoff until its final whistle, with a lot of effort expended to earn, and make, very few points.” And it doesn’t score with the AP either: “It is truly baffling that all the talented, acclaimed actors involved actually read this script and then agreed to devote their time to this movie.” Or in soccer parlance, it’s a definite own-goal.
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