Playing for Keeps

  • 12
  • Gabriele Muccino (2012)
  • US
  • 100 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
2 out of 5

This film from the director of The Pursuit of Happyness purports to be a romantic comedy but it's decidedly light on laughs. Gerard Butler heads the cast as a former star footballer, now fallen on hard times, who's reduced to coaching kids in the United States. Things initially look up for Butler as a bunch of attractive soccer moms are all gagging to get up close and personal with him. However, these off-pitch antics threaten his bid to get back together with his ex-wife (Jessica Biel) and son, whose team he's coaching. Butler does his best, but lacks the requisite charm and comic touch of, say, a George Clooney. What really deserves a red card is the film's portrayal of women. The moms are all giggly, sex-mad or both. And as they're played (badly, as it happens) by such talented actresses as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman and Judy Greer, it's doubly distressing to watch. Even the usually reliable Dennis Quaid flounders as a fellow parent in a film that is at least slickly put together but is ultimately a sheer waste of talent.

Plot Summary

A retired footballer returns to his home town, hoping to rebuild his relationship with his son. He thinks coaching the boy's team will help them bond and give him the chance to prove he can be a responsible adult - but finds himself fending off the sexual advances of the players' mothers. Comedy, starring Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Cast and crew


Gerard Butler
Jessica Biel
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Patti King
Uma Thurman
Carl King
Dennis Quaid
Judy Greer
James Tupper
Noah Lomax
Grant Goodman
ESPN woman executive
Aisha Kabia


Gabriele Muccino

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Lionsgate UK
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 21 Dec 2012
Certificate 12