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Film Review – Playing for Keeps

Director: Gabrielle Muccino
Screenplay:Robbie Fox
Cast: Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Dennis Quaid, Judy Greer, Catherine Zeta Jones, Uma Thurman, Noah Lomax
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Venue: Ster Kinekor Maerua Mall Cine 3
Rating: **

Former sports star George (Gerard Butler) falls on hard times and starts coaching his son’s soccer team as a way to get his life back on track. He had it all, a gorgeous wife, a wonderful son and a jet-setting career, but a series of bad decisions lead him to lose the two most important people in his life. His attempts to become an adult are met with challenges from the attractive soccer moms who pursue him at every turn.
What starts off to be a great movie turns into a sad joke 10 minutes later. It is like moving from a burning flame to an ice cold souffle in the bat of an eyelid. The film does not even match the genre of a romantic comedy. Yes, there were a few laughs here and there but the is a distinct lack of romance.
Despite Playing for Keeps lacking as far as the plot goes, the actors, at least, are convincing in their roles. Jessica Biel is great as Stacy. She plays the role of a heartbroken soccer mom. Her character and that of Butler’s have so much chemistry they make the film pleasant to watch and keep one guessing what next, will they kiss?, will they get back together? The same can’t be said about her and her fiance Matt who is played by James Tupper.
There is remarkable talent in the young actor Noah Lomax. He plays the role of Butler and Biel’s son Lewis. One can’t help but melt when the young lad speaks. He really is a sweetheart and connects well with the audience.
The movie is not too terrible. The soccer moms swooning over the former soccer star are a treat to watch. A favourite is Barb (Judy Greer). She is just hilarious with her mood changes and silly facial expressions. Catherine Zeta Jones (Denise) also delivers and so does Dennis Quaid. He plays a wealthy paranoid husband and father (Carl) who likes to buy loyalty, a role almost similar to his role in ‘What to expect when you are expecting’. He is just as obnoxious as he was in that film.
Butler fans will love this movie. He deliveres voice, body and charm, and the star characters Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid save the horrible film. I came, I sat I watched and even got a little teary-eyed when Butler returned to his family but overall, Playing for Keeps is not something I would watch over and over. I would much rather watch a football game.

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