When it comes to Gabriele Muccinos latest film offering he may shoot but he certainly doesn’t score with this head in hand groan fest film that is Playing for Keeps.
Mighty Ducks did the tale well but this story of the failing sports star who returns to his home town and takes on the role of coach for his kids soccer team has little to keep you tittering in your seat. Throw in some single moms who can’t wait to catch a glimpse of the hunky Gerald Butler without a shirt and yes, madness does indeed ensue.
The film has been cited as being straight out of the assembly line, a ready-made lack luster film that has all the elements of a good movie but none of the heat or passion to actually make it worthwhile. For a film all about the beautiful game, there is no game to be had in this lousy and highly predictable mind numbing plot. The only saving grace of the movie could be the fact that Butler takes his shirt off more often than he puts it on, yet even that fact alone isn’t enough to keep this movie out of the bargain bin pile come the new year.
Whilst we may expect Catherine Zeta Jones to play the horny housewife, seeing Kill Bill kick ass star Uma Thurman acting up as a soccer mom who can’t get enough of the dim witted but hot to trot Gerald Butler was enough to put the boot in.
Not only is the audience made to suffer from a done to death plot, jaded stereotypical characters and a lousy script but there is little in this film to make you titter other than laughing at how bad it actually is. Of course you don’t go into this movie expecting much from the start, you are well aware that this is little more than a rom com aimed at pulling in the crowds for a couple of feel good hours. However Playing for Keeps doesn’t even offer that. Even though it’s refreshing to see Butler in a role where he isn’t throwing around his weight on the battlefield and even though Uma Thurman is a good actress – the strong points are utterly drowned out in this film.
What truly guts the hype of this film in half is that at one point it seems like it does have the potential to work. If Muccino had focused more on the sentimental story of two exes trying to make it work for their child or indeed on Butlers character trying to climb back up to regain some dignity after his failed sports star days – then it could have been a likeable film. Sadly the more likeable aspects of the plot gets drowned out in Hollywood stars trying to outdo each other on the silver screen.
Playing for Keeps should be left where it belongs, on the dusty shelves of blockbuster or in the budget DVD pile for those slushy nights in when you are more interested in making out then actually watching the film.