Playing for Keeps

13 Oct

George (played by Gerard Butler) was once a hugely successful professional soccer player. He would rub shoulders with the likes of David Beckham and play against all the leading stars. His fans can recount game after game where his brilliance shines through to bring victory for his team. But that was then … now he is finished with the big-time (well, the big time is finished with him actually) and he has moved to Virginia. He’s now near to his son Lewis (by Noah Lomax) who lives here with his mother – George’s ex-wife, Stacie (by Jessica Biel). She has moved on and has a strong new relationship. But George is out of work and drifting. He lives in a rented house as he tries to break into the prime-time sports media business, but he just hasn’t got his act together. He tries to keep up good contact with Lewis, but never quite achieves it. One day, the coach of Lewis’ local soccer team quits and Stacie suggests George take the job so he can spend more time with Lewis. George is reluctant, but he’s got nothing better to do, so he gives it a go. This is the first time George has had to do a job that can actually do some good. The soccer Mums and Dads all have their own agenda and they’re awe-struck to have George as their coach. The job comes with the trappings of his fading celebrity – and he’s still distracted by women who are attracted to his past. Few of the parents can see past George’s celebrity reputation. Stacie really hopes George can establish a great relationship with Lewis, but the other parents have their own ideas about how George should manage things. George then gets the chance at the sportscasting big-time, but can he do that and still forge a strong relationship with is son?

This movie is ridiculous. The underlying premise has some strong messages, but the presentation is tedious and quite baffling. I’d say the screenplay has been written to underscore the myth that women feel incomplete without a man and just can’t keep their hands off men who have been famous, regardless of their achievements, personality or morals. The notion that the three seemingly successful, sensible women in this movie – played by Uma Thurman (as Patti), Catherine Zeta-Jones (as Denise) and Judy Greer (as Barb) – just forget themselves and can only think about bedding this seemingly irresistible guy – is totally misguided and approaching offensive. These three ought to have know better than be part of this movie. George is by no means the catch-of-the-century – he’s selfish, immature and incompetent as an adult, but Gerard Butler’s performance reflects that. Dennis Quaid’s character Carl, is awful too. The whole thing should never have been done.

Made in 2012. Directed by Gabriele Muccino

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Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Movies


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