‘Playing for Keeps’ is light, formulaic comfort food with perfectly good intentions - Tucson Local Media: Movie Reviews

‘Playing for Keeps’ is light, formulaic comfort food with perfectly good intentions

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Posted: Monday, December 10, 2012 4:13 pm

‘Playing for Keeps’

Grade: C+

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel

Stop me if this premise sounds even remotely familiar. Gerard Butler is George, a former soccer superstar who’s now reduced to selling his old trophies and uniforms to pay the rent.

He has a beautiful ex-wife, played by Jessica Biel, who is engaged to marry another man. George and his ex have a precious little boy who feels neglected by his deadbeat dad. But George just may be able to patch things up between him and his estranged family by coaching his kid’s soccer team.

Why wherever did they think of a setup like that?

While “Playing for Keeps” isn’t necessarily an innovative and worthwhile film, this romantic comedy does accomplish exactly what it sets out to do. It’s light, formulaic comfort food with perfectly good intentions.

If that’s all your heart desires, then you’re probably going to have a pleasant time. If you ask for anything more though, prepare to feel cheated.

Butler hasn’t always made for the most convincing lead in sentimental films. Most of the time he looks like he would rather be chopping somebody’s head off on a battlefield. He’s actually surprisingly tamed here though, making for a likable, sincere protagonist.

Sadly, there’s not much to George as a character. We’ve seen this kind of guy in a thousand other movies before. Bad luck and timing always gets in the way, causing George to further disappoint his family.

But gosh darn-it, he’s just so charming and vulnerable that you’ve got to rout for him.

There’s not a whole lot to Biel’s character either, who’s basically just the generic ex-wife that does nothing but judge and forgive her former lover. As for her fiancé, the film at least has the integrality to not make him a one-dimensional bad guy. Then again, they really don’t give him any personality at all.

In addition to this love triangle, Catherine Zeta-Jones’ hotshot soccer mom is also pursuing George and may be able to score him an interview with ESPN.

Uma Thurman’s cartoonish Patti additionally has her eyes on George. The problem is that she is married to an eccentric rich man played by Dennis Quaid, who always looks like he’s drunk, high and suffering from a mild case of Parkinson’s.

Lets not forget Judy Greer as yet another quirky, single soccer mom who has a crush George.

As you can tell from that lineup, George has one too many potential suitors. Maybe it would have been interesting if there were some suspense regarding whom George would end up with. It’s pretty clear from the get go, however, that he is destined for his ex-wife.

There are no surprises or unexpected twists down the line. Towards the end of “Playing For Keeps,” it is revealed that Greer’s character has hooked up with George’s landlord, played by Iqbal Theba.

If only “Playing For Keeps” had been all about their underdeveloped romance, then maybe we would have a funnier, more unique film. Instead, we’re left with pleasingly uninspired escapism.

© 2014 Tucson Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Local Movie Times

Saturday, July 13, 2013

AMC Loews Foothills

  • Grown Ups 2 (PG-13) 1hr 41min

    9:30am, 11:55am, 2:30pm, 5:00pm, 7:45pm, 10:15pm

  • Pacific Rim (PG-13) 2hr 11min

          9:45am, 3:45am, 5:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:45pm

          12:45pm, 6:45pm

  • Despicable Me 2 (PG) 1hr 38min

    19:30am, 10:00am, 12:30pm, 3:00pm, 5:30pm, 8:00pm, 10:30pm

          111:45am, 2:15pm, 4:45pm, 7:15pm, 9:45pm

          9:30am, 12:45pm, 2:15pm, 4:00pm, 7:15pm, 8:45pm, 10:30pm

          11:55am, 2:35pm, 5:15pm, 7:55pm, 10:35pm

 

Tower Theatres (no online tickets)

       10:45am, 11:45am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:45pm, 10:45pm

       9:45am, 1:00pm, 4:15pm, 6:05pm, 7:30pm, 10:30pm

      2:45pm, 9:30pm

      10:00am, 11:40am, 12;30pm, 2:10pm, 3:00pm, 4:40pm, 5:40pm, 7:10pm, 8:10pm, 10:30pm

       12:20pm, 2:50pm, 5:30pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm

       9:10am, 10:50am, 12:40pm, 2:20pm, 4:00pm, 6:05pm, 7:40pm, 9:30pm, 10:50pm

       10:30am, 1:50pm, 4:45pm, 7:50pm, 10:40pm

      12:45pm, 6:45pm

       10:10am, 12:50pm, 3:40pm, 6:30pm, 9:20pm

       10:40am, 1:40pm, 4:50pm, 7:45pm, 10:40pm

       11:30am

      9:50am, 3:50pm, 10:10pm

Century Theatres Oro Valley 

         11:10am, 12:30pm, 1:50pm, 3:10pm, 4:30pm, 5:50pm, 7:10pm, 8:30pm, 9:50pm

        10:15am, 11:35am, 4:25pm, 7:00pm, 10:35pm

        1:20pm, 7:30pm

       10:45am, 12:00pm, 1:25pm, 4:05pm, 5:25pm, 6:45pm, 9:25pm, 10:35pm

       2:45pm, 8:05pm

       10:25am, 12:05pm, 1:55pm, 3:35pm, 5:20pm, 7:05pm, 8:50pm, 10:30pm

       10:35am, 1:30pm, 4:20pm, 7:15pm, 10:05pm

       1:05pm, 4:15pm, 7:25pm, 10:25pm

       11:00am, 1:45pm, 4:30pm, 7:15pm, 10:00pm

       10:50am, 1:40pm, 4:35pm, 7:20pm, 10:10pm

       3:40pm, 10:15pm

  • Grand Cinemas Oracle View (No online tickets)

       2:50pm, 5:00pm, 7:15pm, 9:20pm

       10:40am, 12:55pm, 3:15pm, 5:30pm, 7:45pm, 10:00pm

       11:15am

       10:35am, 4:00pm, 9:35pm

       1:15pm, 6:45pm

  • 42 (PG-13) 2hr 8min

       1:25pm, 4:10pm, 7:00pm

       9:50pm

       12:55pm, 6:30pm, 9:30pm

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