"Parent Trap With Sleaze"
PLAYING FOR KEEPS is a story about a boy wanting his divorced parents back together, tainted by a series of sex-crazed soccer moms chasing his former soccer star father. Infidelity is presented as the norm, even if it is shown to be destructive.
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.”
(PaPa, B, LL, V, SS, N, A, M) Strong pagan, promiscuous worldview, with a moral premise that makes the case in favor of traditional marriage and family; 22 obscenities and no profanities; two men wrestle; strong sexual content includes three women seek sex with the coach, two have implied sex, third woman shows up in coach’s bedroom in her underwear, discussions of several characters promiscuous behavior, and boy’s mother has lived with her fiancé for three years; upper male nudity; alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, bribery, bad role models, dysfunctional family becomes more functional.
PLAYING FOR KEEPS opens with George in a few clips of his prime as an international soccer star. It contrasts that with his current situation as credit card companies and his landlord demand money. His ex-wife Stacie lives with her fiancé and George’s young son Lewis. 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 and is made the new coach. However, his winsome character, good looks, athletic ability, and charming accent attract several soccer moms, who throw themselves at George. This problem threatens George’s efforts to get back with his wife.
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.