FILM FANS: 'Playing for Keeps' is cute, but not good

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "Playing for Keeps." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 and 1/2 stars out of 4

I liked the movie and was emotionally moved a few times. I like the fact that George is making every attempt to finally put his childish and playboy ways behind him and become a responsible, loving father. We need more fathers to follow that plan.

On the other hand, though the movie does not display the extra-marital indiscretions, there are several of them, which are not necessary to the plot and do not help George either get a job or put his marriage back together. It also seems a bit unrealistic that the women are so aggressive in pursuing him.

The soccer is really a tangential part of the plot but I like the way George encourages the children. This is probably a difficult thing for someone who is a former pro and has played with the best in the world. In the end, George does the right thing, even when it is such a difficult choice, because of his love for his son and hope for a reunion of the family. I don't suppose there is any reason to see it in the theater. It will be about the same at home.

-- J.P. Zinn, Lawrenceville

2 stars out of 4

When I saw the preview for this, I definitely wanted to see it. It looked like a cute rom-com and I like Gerard Butler. It was still a pretty good film with some redeeming qualities, but I didn't love it.

It's a story of a used-to-be soccer great, George. Years later, he is hoping to patch up his relationships with his ex-wife and son. He becomes the soccer coach for his boy and tries to make amends with Stacie (played strong and straight by Jessica Biel) who he still loves. The plot gets more complicated as several "soccer moms" vie for his attention.

I did like the ways he tried to be a good dad and there are some fun, sweet dad-son moments. There are some bigger names in this film (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid, etc.) but overall it was underwhelming and could've been more family-friendly.

-- Cindy Evans, Duluth

3 stars out of 4

"Playing for Keeps" is the story of George Dyer's (Gerard Butler) quest to get his family back. He has been divorced from his ex-wife Stacie (Jessica Biel) for several years. For years, he has also been an absentee father to his son Jake. George is a retired soccer player. He was a legendary player in his day, but now he is unemployed and is scrambling for money. George has always been irresponsible and selfish, but he wants to be a larger part of his son's life. He is persuaded to coach his son's soccer team when he sees that the current coach does not know what he is doing and everyone wants him to coach instead. This leads to several trysts with the soccer moms.

He slept with many women when he was a professional athlete, but he starts seeing the damage that caused in his own life and those of others. The moms try to seduce him, and sometimes they succeed. His love is reserved for Stacie and their son though.

I enjoyed the movie. It was not great art, but it was a movie about hope and the maturing of a grown man into being the kind of person that his family can depend on. He learns that he has to make real sacrifices if he wants to have good relationships. This is a love story. It is not always happy, but it is worth seeing.

-- Deborah Hurd, Bethlehem