Gerard Butler manages to avoid roles that resemble the one that made him a star in Hollywood. He got his popularity through the Spartan King Leonidas in 300 with his nonstop speeches and granite abs. Since then he got roles that are either brutish sociopaths, such as the one in Gamer and Law Abiding Citizen, or a lovable cad such as in The Bounty Hunter and The Ugly Truth.
In Playing for Keeps he doesn’t have any of the personalities mentioned above. Butler plays an old cad George, a former soccer player who wants to be a sportscaster. George goes to the suburb in order to spend some time with his son (Noah Lomax) and his ex-wife (Jessica Biel). He winds up coaching his son’s soccer team.
In the early part of Playing for Keeps, George is an endearing wreck of a man and the audience expects the movie to show his redemption from his predicament. But the focus is turned away from his son’s soccer team and towards the soccer moms played by Judy Greer, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Uma Thurman.
The desperate housewives can’t keep their hands off George. One is a crying divorcee, another is a seductive ex-sportscaster, and Thurman is a trophy wife. They flirt with George. One confesses her devotion. Another found him a job. And the last one climbs into his bed in the middle of the night and strips down to her underwear.
The actresses do their best with their given characters but Playing for Keeps is illogical. There’s no real character in it. It switches from a romantic comedy to a family drama. It doesn’t seem to know what it is. The main focus of the movie is George’s ability to stop the hot women from throwing themselves at him. Playing for Keeps is forgettable.