Playing for Keeps Review: Gerard Butler Shoots and Scores

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After scoring phenomenal box office success with 300, Gerard Butler has taken an interesting turn as seen in his latest, Playing for Keeps.

Playing for Keeps Gerard Butler

Sure, he’s had varied roles from P.S. I Love You to last month’s Chasing Mavericks. But, more often than not -- post 300 -- Butler has played the romantic man lead in a rom-com. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t in projects that honestly worked. Both The Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston and The Ugly Truth where he starred opposite Katherine Heigl were misguided efforts at best.

So, many would ask: Why go right back to rom-coms as Butler is with his portrayal of a retired soccer pro who finds himself trying to reconnect with his son and hopefully, his ex-wife (Jessica Biel)? It is because Butler believes that he is a comic and romantic leading man. And although Playing for Keeps isn’t ideal by any means, it shows that the man knows his wheelhouse, and has gotten closer to fine -- to paraphrase the Indigo Girls.

Playing for Keeps suffers from cliches like the drooling soccer moms who see Butler’s George as one hot piece of meat. The worst of them is Denise (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who is simply trying to get back at her philandering husband. Then there’s the utterly mis-used Uma Thurman who seems to know she’s being put in the most ridiculous of situations.

Surprising us is Biel. She’s sporty and seems like a perfect match for George, yet it’s clear she’s still stung by him. The reason given in the scope of the story doesn’t really give the audience enough to go on emotionally, but Biel actually is a solid foil for Butler’s advances. 

Gerard Butler in Playing for Keeps
What probably helps the film reach beyond the normal and disposable rom-coms of late is the direction by Gabriele Muccino. The helmer of The Pursuit of Happyness certainly knows how to connect the audience to the story onscreen. Robbie Fox’s screenplay is not quite The Pursuit of Happyness in terms of power, but it knows what it is and never tries to color outside the lines.

Our Playing for Keeps review has to close with a piece of encouragement for Butler. Keep at this rom-com thing. Judging by your performance in this, you’re right. There is something there. It’s just not all the way there yet.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
  • 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (4 Votes)
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Here in the UK we understand football and from what I have seen in the trailer Gerry more than dies a good job. He's brilliant Celtic should be proud to have him as a supporter. Haven't they done well lately. The movie looks like a well needed change from the usual formulaic Hollywood stuff, something for the whole family. I like a story of the guy that has the guts to say no I'm putting family first .
I detest Daniel Craig in James Bond, Gerry could do it a lot better he's a top actor and such a good looking loveable rascal but kind and considerate. He's great with his fans and there's thousands of them and they don't wait for DVDs. Buts that in the UK Europe and all over the world. I'm booking my seats ready and I know I am going to be royally entertained
Who cares about critics Movie 43 looks pure fun and naughtiness . Then the new How to train your dragon a masterpiece in the making as was the first.
Given the chance Gerry is brilliant. Now how about Rabbie Burns. What an epic that could be.
Joan (hug) xxxx

Avatar

Here in the UK we understand football and from what I have seen in the trailer Gerry more than dies a good job. He's brilliant Celtic should be proud to have him as a supporter. Haven't they done well lately. The movie looks like a well needed change from the usual formulaic Hollywood stuff, something for the whole family. I like a story of the guy that has the guts to say no I'm putting family first .
I detest Daniel Craig in James Bond, Gerry could do it a lot better he's a top actor and such a good looking loveable rascal but kind and considerate. He's great with his fans and there's thousands of them and they don't wait for DVDs. Buts that in the UK Europe and all over the world. I'm booking my seats ready and I know I am going to be royally entertained
Who cares about critics Movie 43 looks pure fun and naughtiness . Then the new How to train your dragon a masterpiece in the making as was the first.
Given the chance Gerry is brilliant. Now how about Rabbie Burns. What an epic that could be.
Joan (hug) xxxx

Avatar

Thanks for this review. I’ve been interested in seeing Playing For Keeps since I saw the trailer but this is one of the only positive reviews of it I’ve come across. A couple of my DISH co-workers invited me to go see it with them this weekend, but I think I’d rather not spend the money on this one. I’m planning to add it to my Blockbuster @ Home queue instead, since I have that through my DISH account. That way it’ll just show up in my mailbox once it’s out on DVD and I won’t have to go out of my way to seek it out. Plus, when I’m done watching it, I can return it to the Blockbuster store down the street from my apartment for another movie in my queue. Everything about it is so convenient.

Avatar

Thanks for this review. I’ve been interested in seeing Playing For Keeps since I saw the trailer but this is one of the only positive reviews of it I’ve come across. A couple of my DISH co-workers invited me to go see it with them this weekend, but I think I’d rather not spend the money on this one. I’m planning to add it to my Blockbuster @ Home queue instead, since I have that through my DISH account. That way it’ll just show up in my mailbox once it’s out on DVD and I won’t have to go out of my way to seek it out. Plus, when I’m done watching it, I can return it to the Blockbuster store down the street from my apartment for another movie in my queue. Everything about it is so convenient.

Playing for Keeps Review

After scoring phenomenal box office success with 300, Gerard Butler has taken an interesting turn as seen in his latest, Playing for...

Read Review Editor Rating
  • 3.5 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (4 Votes)

Playing for Keeps Trailer

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