‘Playing For Keeps’: How Do Critics Score the Soccer-Themed Rom-Com?

'Playing For Keeps' Review
Butler and Biel can't save this formulaic rom-com.
Gerard Butler’s latest effort at professionally affording groceries – otherwise known as “acting” – has landed beneath the Christmas tree like a nicely wrapped package of farts. The story of a David Beckham-esque soccer star who coaches his son’s junior team in an effort to repair their damaged relationship, Playing for Keeps bakes up a fresh batch of irony when the manchild is tempted by an utterly unbelievable parade of randy soccer-mom’s.

And if it appears that we weren’t fans of the film, wait until you see the stadium full of critics who dislike this soccer rom-com with all the passion of a Venezuelan referee.

Todd Gilchrist, Celebuzz

Playing For Keeps unfolds like some kind of metaphorical deconstruction of his charms: a meandering, formulaic look at a former sports star confronted by an uncertain future as he continues to exploit the superficial things the world still seems to want from him.”

Scott Tobias, AV Club

“The film is a bedroom farce without the farce, a fish-out-of-water comedy on sun-cracked lake-bed, a story of fatherly redemption that barely gets past the hair-mussing stage. Even the title represents a weak compromise: Once called Playing The Field in reference to its hero being a retired soccer star and ladies’ man, it’s now the generic Playing For Keeps, under the presumed logic that the Kool-Aid wasn’t watery enough.”

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

“As featureless and bland as the suburban Louisiana locations standing in for Northern Virginia, this is a movie that adamantly refuses to live up to its title, aiming instead to lure in a few unsuspecting fans of stars Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel, do its damage and — with any luck — disappear quickly from theaters with virtually no one knowing that it ever existed.”

Kyle Smith, The New York Post

“The boy-dad bonding is no funnier or more convincing than the sex-farce scenes. Playing for Keeps is one of those movies that comes ‘straight from the heart’ — the heart of the hack screenwriter’s manual that pushes formulaic structure to cover up a lack of compelling characters, genuine emotion or actual humor. This is an excellent way to get your script approved by studio execs who think the public can’t tell the difference between an ‘actual movie’ and a ‘rancid piece of garbage.’”

Chris Bumbray, JoBlo.com

“If you’ve seen the Playing for Keeps trailer, you’ve essentially seen the film. All the movie does is stretch it out to ninety minutes, although I’d wager a good sixty of those minutes feel like filler. Gerard Butler seems game on establishing himself outside the action genre, but I find him too bland for a movie like this. How is he any different for a guy like Josh Duhamel or Patrick Dempsey? Ok – he has an accent, but that’s it.”

Christy Lemire, Huffington Post

“This is supposed to be the time of year when high-quality movies come out, whether they’re potential Oscar contenders or crowd-pleasing family fare. So the presence of flat, hacky, unfunny dreck like Playing for Keeps – the kind of film that ordinarily tries to fly under the radar in January or February but would be torture to sit through in any month – is a total mystery. It is truly baffling that all the talented, acclaimed actors involved actually read this script and then agreed to devote their time to this movie, especially given its uncomfortably flagrant misogynistic streak.”

Watch Celebuzz’ exclusive video interview with Gerard Butler. And let us know what you thought of the movie in the comments below!

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player