Playing for Keeps

First Hit:  Predictable film, some strong moments, and generally disappointing with this strong cast.

George (played by Gerard Butler) is a finished professional soccer player from Scotland. He was famous, blew through his money, and is now looking for work.

He’s also is divorced from Stacie (played by Jessica Biel) who is living with their son Lewis (played by Noah Lomax) and her fiance (played by James Tupper). While trying to find a job he moves near his son and ex-wife and becomes the soccer coach for his son’s team. He is a hit and the team begins to score and win games.

However, as expected the parents of the kids on the team want to influence the coach to play their kid or provide special coaching. Making it more complex is that George is a ladies man and all the divorcees want a piece of him in more ways than one. To this end we have Uma Thurman (Patti) who is married to Carl (played by Dennis Quaid).

Patti wants to have an affair with George while Carl, who influences the team and George with money, will kill anyone who has an affair with his wife. There is also Denise (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones) who has influence at ESPN and uses her sexuality and connections to influence George.

Lastly, there is Barb (played by Judy Greer) who is freshly divorced and is prime for sex. Besides the predictability of the film, it sets things up but then lets them go. Example: Carl gives George a bunch of money for the team and George uses it for his rent and deposit on his new digs but there is no consequence for this action.

Butler is good and fits the role well but it just seems so predictable. Biel is very good and she and Butler create a wonderful chemistry. There are a couple of scenes when they are speaking with each other that were really strong. Quaid’s role was odd and not very well thought-out. Zeta-Jones was good and created some fun in the film. Thurman is oddly interesting as a lonely unhappy lush wife. Greer is one of the more interesting people in the film with her emotional jags. Robbie Fox wrote a bland screenplay. Gabriele Muccino directed this film in a very safe way. There wasn’t anything that really stood out or was detrimental. It was safe.

Overall:  This film would be a good Sunday evening family DVD or streaming watch.