Playing for Keeps Reviews
The acting is serviceable, which is the highest praise I can give to this film. Playing for Keeps stars Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Dennis Quaid, Judy Greer, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Uma Thurman. Not a bad cast. You're not going to think any of them are bad actors/actresses (even the child actor was pretty good overall), but they're not really doing their best and the chemistry between Biel and Butler isn't that great.
The problem with this movie is that it's very melodramatic. Playing for Keeps was directed by Gabriele Muccino, director of The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds, both decent movies that starred Will Smith. Though they were both very melodramatic, at least the movie earned some of the melodrama. Playing for Keeps does not because the lead character isn't relatable. He's a former football player (as a British person, the word soccer doesn't exist) who's down on his luck, but seemingly gets everything handed to him when he becomes a children's football coach, such as a job as a sports anchor and a Ferrari just because he's friends with Dennis Quaid. Kids love him, women want to have sex with him, men want to be him, and it's one of the most self-aggrandizing pieces of shit I've ever seen (with Butler also serving as a producer).
Dennis Quaid was over-the-top and annoying. He plays a supporting role as a rich, unfaithful businessman who bribes George (Gerard Butler) with what looks like a thousand dollars (my estimate might be wrong) so that his son can be goalkeeper and his daughter can sing the national anthem. Why is that so important to him? And his admiration for George just felt awkward.
The women in the movie are idiots, with Uma Thurman being the biggest idiot of them all, and her shrillness made her character really irritating. Not that George is any smarter because he lets his child drive a Ferrari on the road at what looks like 60mph. The women are idiots for comedy purposes, but I only laughed once and the tone was all over the place. It's a bland and slightly crude rom-com in one scene and a mawkishly sentimental family drama in another.
Playing for Keeps is a very basic rom-com where Gerard Butler tries to be more responsible and rekindle his relationship with his son and ex-wife. Of course, his ex-wife takes him back in the end because the movie didn't even try to give her fiancé a personality. He does nothing other than open the door and greet Gerard Butler. There isn't even a subplot where he's suspicious that Jessica Biel might be cheating on him.
Playing for Keeps is a really bad film, which plays right into Gerard Butler's wheelhouse (I have yet to see a good Gerard Butler movie), but it's sad to see Gabriele Muccino sink this low. Playing for Keeps is a terrible rom-com that's on par with Gigli, and we all know what happened to Martin Brest after that film. Muccino's career is probably dead now because of this film as his latest film (Fathers & Daughters) was a critical and commercial failure. Thankfully, I saw this film on YouTube as no one cares enough about the film to take it down and it helped me fall asleep. So the next time I need help falling asleep (because I do get insomnia), I'll just watch this film again on YouTube.