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Playing for Keeps Review Critics


Dave White Profile

tBalls. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 38

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The shenanigans of randy soccer moms and their obnoxious blowhard husbands are intended as comic relief. But the sappy plot of this formulaic romantic comedy is just as silly as its inane attempts at farce.

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  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Stephen Farber

    This is a good premise for a comedy, but somewhere along the way, it got diluted and turned into a sappy, feel-good story of family togetherness.

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  • 42

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    The central question of the movie becomes: Can George triumph over his inability to stop hot women from throwing themselves at him?

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Jessica Biel all but steals the show as Stacie.

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  • See all Playing for Keeps reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Ho-hum sports romcom lacks both laughs and chemistry.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Playing for Keeps is a romantic comedy about a faded former soccer star (Gerard Butler) who ends up coaching a youth soccer team in an effort to reconcile with his 9-year-old son after years of being an absentee dad. There are several scenes with people drinking (and sometimes getting a bit tipsy) and a moderate amount of swearing (including "s--t"). Some of the soccer moms pursue George quite aggressively and are anything but subtle about their intentions -- up to and including one who sneaks into his bedroom and strips down to her underwear while waiting for him to come home. Expect some kissing and the implication of a sexual hook-up, but nothing graphic is shown on-screen. While the movie has worthwhile themes about the importance of teamwork, parenting, and responsibility, women are mostly portrayed as needy and manipulative, which undercuts the positive take-away.

  • Families can talk about how Playing for Keeps portrays George as a dad. What do you think of his parenting? What does he learn during the film? How does he compare to other movie/TV dads?
  • How does the movie depict the women in George's life? Is it fair/accurate? What about the men?
  • Why do you think George and Stacie originally broke up? Should they get back together?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Playing for Keeps has messages about the importance of being a good parent, the value of teamwork, and the possibility of growing and changing enough to be worthy of a second chance. The movie makes the point that the biggest part of parenting is simply being there, a lesson that's at first hard for George to grasp as he tries to reconcile with his 9-year-old son after years of being a mostly absent dad. But he tries hard and makes progress.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: George is a charming flake who's irresistible to the local soccer moms. But he's a harder sell to his ex-wife and their son, who know that he can't be relied upon. But eventually he grows up (a bit) as he tries to reconcile with them both and learns some important lessons about life and responsibility. Unfortunately, most of the women in the movie are portrayed as needy and manipulative.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Two men get into a pushing and shoving fight and end up wrestling on the ground. Shoving during a soccer match. One scene features characters watching a gory horror movie.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Several scenes show women blatantly flirting with and throwing themselves at George, and he doesn't always fend them off. It's implied that he hooks up with one of them. One scene shows a woman in bed in her underwear, propositioning a man. Kissing. A married man discusses his philandering, and some of the women pursuing George complain of their unhappy marriages.

  • language false2

    Language: Relatively infrequent swearing includes "s--t," "crap," "hell," "ass," "damn," "oh my God," and "wankers."

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: A red Ferrari convertible has a starring moment, but George usually drives around in an Alfa Romeo. Another character is frequently seen in her Jeep. Several scenes show Apple products, including an iPhone and a Mac laptop. Other products are visible in the background of some scenes, including cans of Coca-Cola. Both Nike and Adidas sportswear get some prominent screen time, and a bottle of Gatorade makes an important cameo.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Several scenes show people drinking wine, beer, champagne, and liquor -- at parties, during meals, or while relaxing at home. A few characters get a bit tipsy at a nostalgic lunch. One character is implied to be somewhat drunk most of the time.