MOVIE REVIEW: Best to keep away from ‘Playing For Keeps’

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

Several women in my life have expressed appreciation for actor Gerard Butler and his – let’s say – talents.
I tend to think Jessica Biel shines whenever she’s on screen.
So a pairing of the two, along with co-stars Uma Thurman, Dennis Quaid and Catherine Zeta-Jones, should be a no-brainer.
The result is “Playing For Keeps,” a movie that has no brain.
George (Butler) is a former soccer star, who lived it up when the money was pouring in. He met and married Stacie (Biel) and they had a kid, Lewis (Noah Lomax).
Faithfulness was never one of George’s chief virtues, and sports careers don’t last forever. He somehow lost touch with his family along the way.
“Playing For Keeps” opens years later, when George is worse than broke and trying to reunite with Lewis and Stacie, who’s engaged to another man.
George starts coaching his son’s soccer team, and the soccer moms do far more than cheer from the stands, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.
Only one of the relationships makes any kind of real sense, and that’s the strained bond between George and his son. The kid’s young enough to idolize his father, even after all the let-downs, and clearly George is trying to make up for his past.
There is some charm on display in “Playing For Keeps,” and maybe there’s a hint of why Stacie should give up her stable fiancé Matt (James Tupper) for the love of her life and father of her son.
But we never really meet Matt, so we don’t know if he would be good for Stacie or not, and we sure know what George has been doing with the soccer moms.
Quaid, Thurman and Zeta-Jones’ characters are basically plot devices. Judy Greer’s sweet turn as Barb adds to the story for a while, then she devolves into a punch line near the end.
In short, if you’re a fan of romance or comedy, seek them elsewhere.
I give “Playing For Keeps” a D.
It’s showing at the Cinemark in Tupelo, as well as Malcos in Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, and Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

Kelli Karlson Wizard 106.7

She gives “Playing for Keeps” a C.

‘Its only saving grace is Gerard Butler’s hotness.’

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