¨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 Happyness 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.