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Playing for Keeps

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

The Scottish actor Gerard Butler doesn’t have a great track record with US movies but at least this spares us his American accent: he plays a Scottish former footballer who’s hit hard times in suburbia. The purpose of his relocation to the States is to bond with a son he’s neglected – and potentially get back together with the lad’s mum (Jessica Biel). But soon he’s conscripted to train his boy’s after-school soccer team and along the way starts to service the sex-starved moms.

These saucy interludes sit very oddly with the father-son bonding – it’s hard to know what this is trying to be: sports drama, family comedy, romance, mid life-crisis movie or sex farce? The latter option allows for enjoyable moments, thanks to a seductive, manipulative Catherine Zeta-Jones and a neurotic Judy Greer (even if neither does the image of women any favours). Meanwhile, Uma Thurman seems to think she’s in a Carry On film, all doe-eyed panting and heaving bosoms with Dennis Quaid on auto-pilot as her greasy wheeler-dealer husband.This has a decent cast, and Butler is reasonably charismatic. But everyone involved deserves a script with more wit, originality and sense of purpose.

Written by Anna Smith

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Tuesday 1 January 2013
  • Duration:106 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Gabriele Muccino
  • Cast:
    • Jessica Biel
    • Gerard Butler
    • Judy Greer
    • Dennis Quaid
    • Uma Thurman
    • Catherine Zeta-Jones
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