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Still shot from the movie: Playing For Keeps.

Playing For Keeps

Once a soccer star, George (Gerard Butler) now finds himself with burnt out dreams and a broken marriage. When he decides to coach his son's (Noah Lomax) soccer team, he also hopes to get his life back in the game.

Overall Grade: C-
Violence: B-
Sexual Content: C
Language: C
Drugs/Alcohol: C
Release Date: 06 Dec 2012
Run Time: 105
MPAA Rating: PG-13

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In-Depth Review

Soccer great George Dryer (Gerard Butler) is a long way from the top of his game. His career is finished. His marriage is over. And his debt load is soaring. Hoping for a job as a sports anchor, he makes demo tapes in his rented apartment. But so far, his future isn’t looking too bright.

The only good thing in his life is his son Lewis (Noah Lomax) who he shares custody of with his former wife Stacie (Jessica Biel). After sitting through a couple of Lewis’ soccer practices where the coach gets off his cell phone only long enough to yell at his young players, George steps in with an offer to mentor the team. The kids are happy to finally have someone who knows how to play, but it is the soccer moms that are thrilled with the handsome and single new coach.

Like flies to road kill, they swarm all over him, shamelessly showing up at his apartment or pulling him away from his son. Unfortunately George isn’t too good at saying no and on more than one occasion he gives in to some exclusive one-on-one practice sessions. Meanwhile, George’s ex Stacie tries to shield Lewis from disappointment while wrapping up the final preparations for her marriage to her live-in boyfriend Matt (James Tupper).

However George and Barb (Judy Greer) and George and Denise (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and George and Patti (Uma Thurman) aren’t the only grown-ups involved in extracurricular relationships. One girl on George’s team confesses her father sleeps in the maid’s bedroom and Patti’s husband Carl (Dennis Quaid) points out his mistress at a house party he hosts.

Sexual activity aside, the film’s action is plotted out like a child’s paint-by-number set. Before wedding bells ring, Stacie has to choose between her ruggedly handsome, irresponsible former husband and her buttoned-down, exciting as vanilla live-in boyfriend. Given George’s delinquent past and reckless sex life, vanilla might be good.

If you still think that kids kicking a soccer ball around the field will make Playing for Keeps a family film, don’t be fooled. Few movies take seriously the implications of philandering grown-ups on their innocent offspring. And with seemingly no consequences for their raging hormones, the adults get away without even a yellow card while the kids pay the penalty when their parents fail them.

Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...

Violence: Two men engage in a sideline scuffle when one shows up during a soccer game with revealing pictures. A man is jailed for drunk driving. Clips from a monster movie include some blood, gore and brief jump scenes.

Sexual Content: A girl says her father sleeps in the maid’s room. Women throw themselves at a single man showing up at his house or inviting him to their place of employment. It is implied that a man sleeps with at least two different women from the soccer team. A married woman undresses in the coach’s bedroom and is shown wearing only her underwear. A man points out his mistress at a house party. Different couples kiss on several occasions.

Language: The script contains profanities, terms of Deity, scatological slang and a crude British sexual term.

Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters drink on numerous occasions at home or in social settings. A man is jailed after drinking too much. A woman guzzles a beer at a restaurant.

Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...

Who pays the most when it comes to divorce? How does Lewis respond to the frequent disappointment he feels when his father lets him down? What can divorcing parents do to help lessen the impact on their children?

What plans and preparations do athletes need to make for their inevitable retirement? Does becoming a sports caster seem like a good option for George?

Video alternatives

Gerard Butler plays the love interest in the movies Dear Frankie, Nim’s Island and P.S. I Love You.

Home Video Notes

Home Video Notes: Playing For Keeps

Release Date: 5 March 2013

Playing For Keeps releases to home video with the following extras:

- Deleted Scenes Stacie Lectures George

- The Playbook (making-of)

- Creating An All-Star Team: The Cast of Playing For Keeps

Join the Conversation

About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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