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Playing For Keeps

by Leonard Maltin
December 7, 2012 1:00 AM
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Photo by Dale Robinette – Courtesy of FilmDistrict
Playing for Keeps is aimed at moviegoers who want to watch attractive people in a lightweight romantic comedy-drama. It won’t be up for any Oscars, nor will it score points for originality, but it’s harmless enough fare for its target audience. If that sounds like a back-handed compliment, it’s the best I can muster.

Gerard Butler is well cast as a onetime soccer star who’s at a low ebb in his life. He’s moved back to Virginia, hoping to make up for lost time with his 9-year-old son (appealing newcomer Noah Lomax)…and still carrying a torch for his ex-wife (Jessica Biel), who’s planning to marry her boyfriend. When Butler volunteers to coach his son’s team, he makes himself a highly visible magnet for a number of soccer moms, both married and single, including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman, and Judy Greer. He also becomes a target for Thurman’s blowhard of a husband, Dennis Quaid.

You can already imagine the misadventures that follow and, if not, the trailer will clue you in. Screenwriter Robbie Fox and director Gabriele Muccino don’t have many surprises in store for us, but it’s all easy to take, and just as easy to forget.

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  • Visitor | December 12, 2012 11:16 AMReply

    Leonard Maltin is like any other critic. You will agree with him some of the time and disagree with him at other times. He was never any more or less "credible" than any other critic, just more prolific than most. Most critics including Mr. Maltin lower their own bar year after year anyways, probably without even realizing it.

  • Paisley | December 10, 2012 2:04 PMReply

    There was nothing wrong with the film. It was promoted as a mad-cap romatic comedy when in actuality it was more of a drama about a dysfunctional broken family with a little bit of mad-cap humor sprinkled in. Critics are always looking for box-office gold or Oscar contenders and this is neither. They tend to over-analyze the films they see looking for profundity, hidden meaning, nuance and plot twists. Most romantic comedies by their very nature are not strong in those departments. If critics had take it as the harmless entertainment it was intended to be it might have fared better.

  • joe | December 8, 2012 10:55 AMReply

    I have to agree with Glenn. This was just a sad attempt to get his name on the movie cover while trying to salvage some credibility.

  • Glenn | December 8, 2012 5:41 AMReply

    well at least now your name will be on the dvd cover as its ONE positive review

  • Sam's mom | December 7, 2012 10:37 PMReply

    The movie is gentle-hearted.
    Enjoyable and attractive people abound.

  • roger | December 7, 2012 9:02 PMReply

    Credibility out the window, man.

  • Jack S. | December 7, 2012 10:04 PM

    His credibility is out the window because you disagree with him? Have you even seen the movie? If you read the review, he's not saying that it's a good movie, but that it's clearly made for people who want to see good-looking actors and actresses on screen. It's a weak movie but it's harmless.

  • Norm | December 7, 2012 3:59 PMReply

    They could always do a bio-pic on Randy Quaid, his life seems to be quite interesting..As far as the movie goes LM, it is Christmas ... I suppose the review was the present it deserves...

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