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Rated PG-13 for language and adult situations
posted Dec 13, 2012 - 8:07:41pm
Gerard Butler keeps making it harder and harder for people to take him seriously. By the nature of romantic comedies, any actor with an accent, like Butler, is likely to find himself starring in one or two eventually, and there’s nothing wrong with that if the role is right. Playing for Keeps is not right.
This time around, Butler is given the chance to play a former soccer player who tries to reconnect with his kid (Noah Lomax) after being mostly absent from his life. Butler is supposed to be the good guy here, meaning he gets an unreasonable pass at despicable behavior. By that I mean, par for romantic comedies, his ex-wife is getting remarried and he swoops in to sweep her off her feet in a last-ditch effort to win her back. As romantic as that sounds, what about the guy she’s marrying? He’s not a jerk. In fact, he seems like a pretty stand-up guy. But he's not the movie star, so the audience is supposed to ignore his feelings. It’s this sloppy attention to detail, this disconnect from reality, that perfectly summarizes what’s wrong with Playing for Keeps.
Popcorn represents how fun a film is to watch—how funny it is, how exciting the special effects are, and how enjoyable the story is on repeated viewings. The perfect popcorn movie would be one that never got stale regardless of how many times you’ve seen it.
The worst part about Playing for Keeps, though, is that it has such an incredible cast. Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones – you couldn’t ask for a more competent collection of actors. And yet, Playing for Keeps makes every last one of them look awful. This is a good counterexample to the old argument that there are no bad roles, only bad actors. Clearly there are bad directors and writers out there as well.
Playing for Keeps is almost so bad that it’s not even worth hating. 2012 has given us a lot of terrible movies amid a few great ones, so worrying too much about one more in the dreck seems pointless. There are only a few weeks left in the year, and there are still plenty of new movies coming out that look like they’re worth the price of admission, so just forget this one. Get excited for The Hobbit instead.
Stars & Popcorn grade: 1 1/2 stars, 1 popcorn
— Born and raised in the sunshine state, Patrick grew up loving movies. He’s currently attending the University of Central Florida and is a Cinema Studies major. Along with being the president of Stars and Popcorn, he’s a player in the independent comics scene.
Sponsored by Liebe Entertainment Group, Marketplace 8. Click here to see showtimes for Playing for Keeps
Visit Stars and Popcorn at www.starsandpopcorn.com
Patrick Sessoms — Born and raised in the sunshine state, Patrick grew up loving movies. He’s currently attending the University of Central Florida and is a Cinema Studies major. Along with being the president of Stars and Popcorn, he’s a player in the independent comics scene.
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