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Playing for Keeps (+UltraViolet Digital Copy) (2012)

Gerard Butler , Jessica Biel , Gabriele Muccino  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel
  • Directors: Gabriele Muccino
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Ultraviolet, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: FilmDistrict
  • DVD Release Date: March 5, 2013
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2017 (Click here for more information)
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00A2H9UG6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,501 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Playing for Keeps (+UltraViolet Digital Copy)" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A retired soccer star attempts to rebuild the relationship with his son and ex-wife by coaching the soccer team.

Gabriele Muccino's Playing for Keeps, an awkward mix of sports and suds, exists primarily to keep the Gerard Butler contingent happy. Fortunately, the Scottish actor gives a likable performance, speaks in his native brogue, and boasts the kind of lean physique that comes from back-to-back athletic pictures (in Chasing Mavericks, he played a surfer). Though he once enjoyed a successful soccer career, Butler's George now struggles to make ends meet. The action begins after he moves to Virginia to reconnect with his son, Lewis (appealing newcomer Noah Lomax), though he's ultimately hoping to reunite with his ex-wife, Stacie (Jessica Biel), except she's engaged--and still bitter about his past infidelities. When George catches sight of Lewis's soccer coach slacking off, he steps in and wins over players and parents alike. So far, so good, except the way talented actresses like Judy Greer, Uma Thurman, and Catherine Zeta-Jones throw themselves at him registers as more pathetic than amusing. The real heavy of the piece, however, isn't Stacie's nice-guy fiancé (James Tupper), but the insanely jealous millionaire (Dennis Quaid) with the lonely wife (Thurman). If the male-female machinations feel familiar, the movie comes alive whenever George spends time with the kids, an outspoken group who recall the wiseacres of Bad News Bears, except Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness) spends more time with the predictable adults and their predictable problems. But for those who just want to hang out with a handsome Scotsman for 107 minutes: Playing for Keeps gets the job done. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Playing For Keeps is NOT a romantic comedy December 10, 2012
I saw this in the theater with my mother yesterday afternoon. I'm not going to try to tell you that Playing For Keeps is an Oscar contender (it's not) or that it's not corny, formulaic or predictable in spots (it is). It's certainly not on a par with Mr. Butler's previous films Coriolanus or Machine Gun Preacher, nor did I expect it to be.

I think that professional critics are missing the point of a film like this one. They're so busy analyzing movies frame by frame for profundity, hidden meanings and plot twists, looking for that epiphany, that they tend to forget that the rom-com genre, by definition, IS usually somewhat corny, formulaic and predictable.

I wouldn't classify Playing For Keeps as a romantic comedy and perhaps that's part of the problem. If critics went solely by the trailer, they expected pure light-hearted fluff when in actuality it's much more of a family drama with some humor sprinkled in.

Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel & Noah Lomax are totally believable as a dysfunctional family unit. George's vulnerability in some scenes will break your heart and those somber moments featuring George, Stacie & Lewis will bring a tear to your eyes. The supporting cast didn't fare as well although they did fine with what they were given to work with (I blame the writers). The only minor characters I disliked were the husband & wife played by Dennis Quaid & Uma Thurman. What an ugly couple, and I don't mean that in a physical way.

Anyway, for fear of spoilage, that's all I'm going to say about it other than I really enjoyed it and I hope you get out there to see it before it disappears.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I THINK I LIKED THIS BECAUSE IT WAS DIFFERENT January 3, 2013
"Playing for Keeps" starring Gerard Butler (Phantom of the Opera, The Ugly Truth and many other so-so movies), is about a former soccer star named George that played alongside David Beckham in his hay-day and has fallen far from grace. He's a guy who's a natural at getting things and being given things, but horrible at making decisions, knowing when people are taking advantage of him and growing up. So, when he returns to the hometown of his former love, Stacie (Jessica Biel), to patch things up and reunite with his son, the typical romantic movie story begins to play out.

That being said, this movie has been a subject of numerous poor reviews from national critics and I would have to say that for some reasons, criticism is justified, but the movie is nowhere near as bad as it is being portrayed. The script is strange. It portrays Butler's character realistically, but occasionally gets farcical at random times. He's a ladies man and always has been. Women flock to him, so when he accidentally ends up coaching his son's soccer team, he becomes the target of many players Mom's; single, disturbed, married, manipulative. Then of course there's the Indian neighbor who seems to have no life, but watching George hosting numerous women from the guesthouse that he is renting.

George is a hard character to like. Although I found his character realistic in portrayal as someone who has numerous women who want him and everybody treating him like a celebrity. Quite simply, he takes it. Most would. Yet, as predictable as the script may be, I found the things that happened in the movie justified. George grows throughout the movie and he battles with his maturity. There are many valuable lessons that many will relate to in the film.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I PROMISE I WON'T CRY December 23, 2012
George Dryer (Gerard Butler) is a retired soccer star living in Virginia to be near his son living with his ex-wife Stacie (Jessica Biel). George still loves his ex and doesn't take the news of her up coming wedding too well. Having financial difficulty causes George to coach his son's (Noah Lomax) mixed league soccer team to the joy of soccer moms.

Being a good looking guy with an accent, women such as Catharine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman, and Judy Greer all throw themselves at him. George is not a man accustomed to saying no, but Jessica Biel is a tough act to follow, just ask her if you don't believe me.

This is not a guy's film. Soccer is in the background and knowledge of the sport doesn't make the film any better. This is perhaps a chick flick for people who don't want to get emotional. Might make for a mediocre date night film if you haven't seen "An Officer and a Gentlemen" 10 times already. Good acting. Weak script.

Parental Guide: No f-bombs or nudity. Implied sex. Use of "SOB".
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wishing for something better March 12, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
This movie has a lot to like – a nice story, humor, meaningful relationships, etc. Unfortunately, it also features a main character choosing casual sex with several women, none being his ex-wife whom he supposedly still loves. I wish Hollywood would stop portraying casual sex as a joke, or as a "normal" part of life that just happens. I wanted to root for the restoration of a marriage and family, but the film-makers decided to take a twisted path. Too bad, it could have been a real winner.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Soccer Mom Dope Opera April 15, 2013
Soccer is the perfect Playing for Keeps metaphor - slow, meandering and pointless with "extra time" put on the clock for no discernable reason except perhaps, to prolong the agony. Even by the trifling standards of the garden variety romantic comedy, PFK (under the AWOL direction of Gabriele Muccino) offers a redemption and reconciliation tale so poorly told that continuity, script supervision and character development were apparently early morning electives that Mr. Muccino must have decided to blow off.

Although I wasn't expecting much, in more skillful directorial hands a first-rate cast populated by Gerald Butler, Jessica Biel, Catherine Zeta Jones, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman and Judy Greer should have at least guaranteed a minimum level of weekend watchability.

The story pivots around Gerald Butler's George, a retired David Beckham-esque soccer superstar who has returned to Virginia to reclaim his family and fortune decimated by a decade of bad decisions and bad luck. In an effort to reintroduce himself to his son Lewis (admirably played by Noah Lomax) George commandeers control of Lewis' junior soccer club and while teaching the team real skills inadvertently dampens the wardrobe of the gaggle of soccer moms (Thurman, Greer, Jones) who dutifully attend each practice and now race to bed George.

This is where the film really comes of the tracks as each seduction scene reveals women with such pervasive insecurities and below-zero self-esteem that it is hard to imagine any of them as the accomplished and affluent inhabitants of the take no prisoners Beltway culture that they purport to be charter members of. All in all it's Wisteria Lane meets Hysteria Lame with not even a tangential connection between storylines.
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