The reviews are in and Gerard Butler continues his descent into irrelevancy in Playing for Keeps. Critics aren't being kind and many are questioning whether the mainstream romantic comedy genre is dead in the water. Why is it that movies that are specifically made for women are the ones that degrade them the most? What's so sad about this film is that it stars some incredibly established and talented actresses that deserve so much better from the material they are given to work with. Don't let the warm and fuzzy vibe of the trailer fool you.
Synopsis: A former sports star who's fallen on hard times starts coaching his son's soccer team as a way to get his life together. His attempts to become an adult are met with challenges from the attractive soccer moms who pursue him at every turn.
Here are what some of the Critics had to say about the film:
It is truly baffling that all the talented, acclaimed actors involved actually read this script and then agreed to devote their time to this movie, especially given its uncomfortably flagrant misogynistic streak. Judy Greer, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Uma Thurman couldn't possibly need work this badly. And yet, here they are as soccer moms shamelessly throwing themselves at Gerard Butler and his tousled, manly mane.The one woman with an actual backbone and sense of values in this movie is Biel's character .... Unfortunately, she's also rendered as bland, conservative and, oddly, a little frumpy
-CHRISTY LEMIRE , Associated Press
This film rather offensively suggests that no woman in town—even the woman who, after living through years of [Butler's] womanizing, has suffered the most at his hands—can resist this slow-witted, sleazy hunk of a man, who has no prospects to speak of...Judy Greer, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Uma Thurman, all charming and talented actresses, wind up with stereotypically silly roles, cast as oversexed, out-of-control women.Wasting the talents of seveal charming actresses, this misogynistic romantic ccomedy is one of the silliest films of the year.
-Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
The idea underlying "Playing for Keeps," the new romantic comedy starring Gerard Butler, is basic: A well-toned guy who is good with kids is the ultimate aphrodisiac for sex-starved soccer moms. Three very good actresses are squandered to prove the point.
-Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
There are a needy, red-haired divorcée (Judy Greer); a raven-haired mom fatale (Catherine Zeta-Jones); and an unhappy blond trophy wife (Uma Thurman), who seems to have parachuted in from a different, possibly more interesting, movie...Sometimes the movie swerves toward farce, sometimes into the zone of smiley family comedy and at other times into full-on weepiness. None of it is especially credible or engaging.
A. O. SCOTT, The New York Times
Gerard Butler could be a bigger deal. But his swagger doesn’t amount to anything. He plays too many losers and slobs and men only other men would want to marry — men who don’t shave, and who wear sweat pants and care only about being a man. Butler barks yet never bites. He’s all pounded hand greetings and leather jackets and thumb rings. But he has no danger or darkness, only the faint air of a hangover. His appeal is meant as irony: Ladies, this beery, chauvinist sports nut loves you. This is modern movie stardom, and it’s depressing: the romantic lead who could also be selling us body spray
In a Butler romantic comedy, the heroine is usually an ex or a woman who just knows better, forced by fate — OK, OK, by bad screenwriting — into remarriage. Butler comes around. He learns to listen. He learns to hug. And the heroine learns to be less perfect, less professional. She learns to relax. Butler isn’t a bigger deal because a woman can get a used lover at home. What she can’t get is Denzel. Not that he could make a movie like “Playing for Keeps” good. He just would have elevated the allure. Butler simply acquits himself, and that’s not enough.
Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
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