PLAYING FOR KEEPS
Parent Trap With Sleaze
Release Date: December 07, 2012
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 106 minutes
Distributor: Film District
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Writer: Robbie Fox
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The movie opens with George (Gerard Butler) in a few clips of his prime as an international soccer star. It then contrasts that with his current situation as credit card companies and his landlord demand payment. His ex-wife, Stacie (Jessica Biel), lives with her fiancé and George’s son, Lewis (Noah Lomax). George goes to Lewis’ soccer practice where his coach knows nothing about soccer and cares even less. George gives the team a real soccer lesson. The children and their parents are both impressed, so they make George the new coach (to the delight of the old coach).
Sadly, George’s winsome character, athletic ability, good looks, and charming accent lead several of the soccer moms to throw themselves at him. This includes the wife of Carl (Dennis Quaid). Carl offers George large sums of money to make his son goalie and let his daughter sing the National Anthem at games. After Carl gets George to come to a party and impress some of his business associates, Carl loans George his Ferrari. George actually lets Lewis drive the Ferrari some.
George is increasingly drawn to his son and his ex-wife Stacie, even as the soccer moms are doing all they can to get him into bed. Soccer mom Denise (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a former television personality, helps George get a job as a sportscaster but expects casting couch activity in return. George is presented as not wanting this kind of attention, but he does go along with it at first. The movie actually moves him away from all the promiscuity and makes the traditional family look ideal, but the message about what’s “normal” in this movie is both horrible and inaccurate.
The truth is that it’s not normal anywhere in the United States that three soccer moms would seek sex with their children’s soccer coach. Noah Lomax (Lewis) and a large number of his young friends attended the screening reviewed here. They saw America presented as normally promiscuous. I doubt most of the young children who attended the movie come from homes where such promiscuity occurs.
While PLAYING FOR KEEPS, even in its title, advocates lasting marriage and a traditional family structure, Movieguide® must recommend extreme caution in regard to the language and lifestyles that the movie presents as “normal.”
PLAYING FOR KEEPS is fairly entertaining but not great. The title and the movie’s ending advocate in favor of a lasting marriage and a traditional family structure. However, there’s a dark side to PLAYING FOR KEEPS. First, there’s plenty of foul language. Also, the movie depicts infidelity and promiscuity as “normal” activities in modern-day suburban America. This isn’t just immoral; it’s incorrect. So, MOVIEGUIDE® recommends extreme caution with PLAYING FOR KEEPS.