Playing for Keeps FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
Film District, Eclectic Pictures, Evil Twins and Millennium Films present a 106 minute, PG-13, romance, drama, comedy, directed by Gabriele Muccino and screenplay by Robbie Fox with a theater release date of December 7, 2012.
George Dryer (Gerard Butler) is a world class soccer player that has shared the field with top names like David Beckham for many years dating back to the early 1990’s. He is currently low on money, creditors calling for payment, pawning his old memorabilia to pay bills, drives an old Alpha Romeo and is renting an apartment in Virginia off Param (Iqbal Theba), his landlord to which he can’t afford the rent. George is low on his luck, divorced from Stacie (Jessica Biel) and shares a son with her, Lewis (Noah Lomax), which is of course when he finds the time to see him.
Ever since the end of his soccer days things have seemed to just go south for George. That is until one day he happens to attend his son’s soccer practice, soon thereafter eventually becoming the coach of the Cyclones, his son’s team. At this point on everything started to move north, he was networking, making influential friends, some for the wrong reasons, yet as for the soccer moms well they all wanted a piece of George. Barb (Judy Greer) the recently divorced mother that thinks little of herself and cries every time she looks at George, Denise (Catherine Zeta-Jones), the sexy seductress with all the ties to the sports reporting world, which George is trying to get a job in and last but not least Patti (Uma Thurman) who happens to be married to money man Carl (Dennis Quaid) but she still wants to get in George’s soccer shorts. A number of lead actress’s with very little to do in the film other than wanting to sleep with the leading man, Butler. I think if the writers gave them a bit more substance than their roles have warranted in their scenes it would have made the story more intense and suggestive in and out of the sheets adding a bit more conflict to the actual plot.
Along the way, George finally begins to grow up and realizes that the one woman in his life that truly meant anything he let get away. Stacie is now engaged to be married to Matt (James Tupper) and George hopes it’s not too late to learn from the past to take action in the present in hopes of a future with Stacie and their son. One problem, things are complicated, Stacie is about to get married, George lands a dream job in Connecticut and as for Lewis he just wants his family. In life the saying states, “If you love someone let them go and if they return then it was meant to be”, some people wait a life time, some not at all but for those lucky ones the real love wins. I’ll let you see the ending to find out how it works out for George.
The film is nicely filmed, directed, and written for a nice dramatic, somewhat romantic story but overall it just seems to coast from start to finish not really adding anything to propel the story line beyond the cliché films before it. Butler once again shines bringing a very truthful element to his character and of course seduces the targeted audience a few times sporting a more chiseled physique. Biel is likeable but for the most part a bit flat making her seem a bit uninteresting. Lomax is a true young star in the making that brings an authentic feel to his role. Quaid, Zeta-Jones, Greer, Thurman and Theba for the most part are filler and although all excellent a no name actor could have done just as well for the most part. I guess like the Ferrari Butler gets to drive in the film there are very polished moments in the story but it would have been a bit more interesting if it got a little dirtier. Overall it’s a well done film for a night out if you’re looking for something cute, cuddly and well full of fluff if you know what I mean. Yes, it’s a bit of a chick flick for sure so the women in the audience will surely like it. One thing missing, the family dog! Written and enjoyed with two paws out of four by Jon Patch.
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