December is generally a great month for movies; the height of Oscar season and the time when studios release all their most highly anticipated and (hopefully) critically acclaimed movies. But in the midst of all the prestige and import, here comes "Playing For Keeps," a Gerard Butler romantic comedy about a former professional soccer player who becomes his son's soccer coach and starts sleeping with all the team moms. I guess releasing the movie now was intended as counter-programming; if you're not in the mood for the arty, smart stuff, try this rom-com. Based on the reaction from critics, the result's more like a fart in a perfume store.
As of 10:30 AM Friday morning, "Playing For Keeps" also holds a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, ranking it with the Eddie Murphy flop "A Thousand Words" as the absolute worst reviewed mainstream movie of 2012 (take note, worst-of list writers) At Criticwire, that means only one thing: it's time once again for Barbed Wire. Here are ten great lines from ten horrible reviews of "Playing For Keeps."
"A fish-out-of-water comedy on sun-cracked lake-bed."
"An undistinguished, impact-free watch-checker that will soon be vaguely distracting transatlantic travelers who forgot to carry on their iPads."
"The film is aimed at women -- women who don't mind watching a movie in which all of the female characters are embarrassing, man-hungry ditzes, that is."
"Gerard Butler's mailbox is where scripts rejected by Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Brad Pitt and Colin Farrell go to die."
"Butler is apparently -- or at least contractually -- irresistible to women, and George, even in semi-eclipse, attracts them like moths to a manly flame."
"Until the inevitable conclusion, mostly the movie is a dull sex comedy about lusty housewives hurling themselves at George, whose best shot at employment is probably reinventing himself as a man whore."
"Dismaying, like spotting Anna Wintour in line at a soup kitchen."
"If you can find a character in this who resembles any soccer parent you know, drop me an email."
"'Playing for Keeps' was at one point during its production called 'Playing the Field,' but both titles are equally forgettable. It might have been better to name it after one of the minor characters. 'The Vicarious Landlord' has a nice ring, or 'The Crying Soccer Mom.' Even a line of dialogue by Biel -- 'Ticking Time Bomb with a Charming Accent' -- would have given this wet blanket a little more spark."
"Originally titled 'Playing the Field,' which was deemed too racy, this rom-com would have been more aptly renamed 'Running Out the Clock.'"