Playing for Keeps (2012)
Theatrical Release: 12/7/2012
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter
Writer: Robbie Fox
Producer: Gerard Butler
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Runtime: 106 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Starring: Gerard Butler,
The story follows George Dryer (Gerard Butler), a former soccer player who goes back to try and patch things up with his son (Noah Lomax) and estranged wife (Jessica Biel) - who is engaged to remarry someone else - and ends up coaching the boys' soccer team. He becomes the subject of fascination and desire by every bored house wife in town, especially the gorgeous Patti (Uma Thurman) who sets out on a mission to seduce the coach. Dryer must try to survive the extreme temptations of Patti and advances of the other soccer moms, as well as revive his relationship with his son.
This is a movie with a warm "feel good" ending and features a good story. It's unfortunate that the film contains a few items which drive it over the top of our acceptability level for family-friendly viewing.
George Dryer (Gerard Butler) was a soccer star and the movie opens with three of his impressive goals from 1993, 1996 and 2005. However, an ankle injury shortens his career and now he is at a place in life in which he comes back into his son and ex-wife's lives and he lobbies for a sports reporting job for TV. He has grown up a lot and is an easy-going affable guy. Unexpectedly he winds up coaching his son Lewis's (Noah Lomax) soccer team, following the excitement from the kids when he steps in at a practice one day to offer them soccer tips. The team, the Cyclones, begin to improve under his tutorage. One of the film's charms is when the various parents leave phone messages for Coach George, encouraging him to play their kids or, in one case, a dad wants George to make sure his daughter sings the National Anthem.
George still has feelings for his ex, Denise (Jessica Biel), and it is obvious she reciprocates those feelings but she is engaged to be married to a man named Matt and she puts on a tough exterior. It doesn't help that several of the kids' moms find George attractive and indeed he ends up sleeping with two of them when they push the issue but he turns down an offer from a married mom who is lonely due to her husband's philandering.
The story includes themes of the importance of family and responsibilities but the sexual situations and innuendos not to mention the use of a "Da*n you" by a character halts this one short of receiving our Dove Seal for family-friendly viewing.
Sex: Two women pursue a man sexually and he winds up sleeping with them; a married man admits to having an affair; a married woman attempts to seduce a man but he refuses her advances; kissing between a few couples; woman wraps her legs around man; woman leaves a note about a man "ending her slump"; a few sexual innuendos and plain comments including getting "A".
Language: Da*n you-1; G/OMG-2; H-4; S-15; A-1; SOB-2; D-1; Crap-1; Bloody-2; Slang for testicles-1; Bites-1; Sucks-1
Violence: A jealous husband mistakenly thinks a man slept with his wife and starts fighting him on a soccer field.
Drugs: Drinking in a few scenes including beer; talk of a man once owning a sports bar; a comment about a boy's father dying from years of smoking; a party.
Nudity: Cleavage; woman in bra and panties; shirtless man; a former athlete talks about once standing in a locker room naked before a queen.
Other: Lonely women, one married, who like a man; a boy is hurt as his dad has let him down a few times.