Sentimental rom-com

Playing for Keeps Alliance Rating: PG 106 minutes

In Playing for Keeps Gerald Butler plays a former pro British soccer star of the likes of Beckham who’s moved to Virginia to be near his ex-wife (Jessica Biel) and nine-year-old son. His sports career is over, he’s hard up for cash and looking for a job as a sports anchor.

By the usual combination of circumstances he starts coaching his son’s soccer team. He turns out to be a good coach and soon, surprise, surprise, the team is in the finals. His fame and looks also make him very attractive to a trio of horny soccer moms played by Uma Thurman, Judy Greer and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who don’t have much to do except throw themselves at Butler. But he’s more interested in getting back with Biel and developing his relationship with his son (Noah Logan). Dennis Quaid plays the rich, jerky father (and Thurman’s husband) of one of the soccer kids.

No surprises here. The movie doesn’t tell us the back story but you can guess Butler’s character let fame go to his head and groin, but finally grew up and wants his family back. He is buff, handsome, charming and not immune to the charms of the soccer moms. Of the female actors only Biel gets to play a real believable character. The movie is pleasant, sentimental, often heart-warming and easy to take, but strikes few sparks. As romantic comedies goes it’s somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Rating: three deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.