Playing for Keeps
* * * (Joyce)
Joyce liked this romantic comedy/soap opera more than I did.
Gerard Butler plays George Dryer, a washed-up soccer player who lost everything, including his wife (Jessica Biel) and son after hanging up his soccer cleats.
George sees his son on weekends and tries hard to bond with him, making progress when he takes over his soccer team, which is sort of soccer’s version of the Bad News Bears. George’s wife has been living with another man for three years and is engaged to marry. George has this crazy idea that he can win her back.
The son’s soccer team improves under George’s coaching, and it all comes down to the big game. Guess who wins? Guess who scores the winning goal?
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a typical sports movie. George has other, more pressing problems. An obnoxious soccer dad (Dennis Quaid) tries to bribe George into letting his son play goalie and his daughter sing the National Anthem, while his wife (Uma Thurman) tries to get George in bed. Two soccer moms (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Judy Greer) stalk the handsome coach, trying desperately to sexually conquer him.
But George is an honorable man. He wants to win back his former wife and their son, even though she left him when he was no longer a hero and had lots of money.
George is offered a job with ESPN, thanks to the help of one of the soccer moms, who wants a piece of him in return. But ESPN is a long way from home in Bristol, Conn.
What is George to do? His son doesn’t want him to go. His former wife, who has already picked out her wedding dress, shows that she still cares for him. You can see the ending coming a mile away.
Joyce liked it. I should have stayed home and watched ESPN. Rated PG-13 with minor profanity and many sexual references.