THE MOST INTERESTING THING about Playing for Keeps is trying to figure out who the movie is for. Is it for lonely housewives itching to nail Gerard Butler? Soccer fans desperate for validation that their little game of "futball" is actually a real sport? Moviegoers hoping for a glimpse of Uma Thurman with her top off? (Trick question, that's everybody.) The only satisfactory answer is that this movie is for adult children of broken homes who kind of blame their mothers.
During his heyday, soccer star George (Gerard Butler) got "more ass than a toilet"—which is a LOT of ass. (Plus a lot of pooping ass, but whatever.) After an injury takes him out of the game for good (coulda been a star!), he lands in suburban Virginia to be near his ex-wife and nine-year-old son. Broke and living in a crappy guesthouse, he soon takes over as captain of his kid's soccer team, after he sees the old coach being all, "Kick with your toe! This isn't REAL football!" The Mighty Ducks this ain't—the team is made up of interchangeable white moppets with disturbingly hot moms, and after George says, "Actually, kick with the side of your foot!" they transform into a monochromatic crew of winners, no training montage required.
Hot moms, natch, pant with gratitude. Hollywood's great at subtly (or, in this case, not so subtly) communicating the difference between women who are viable romantic partners, and chicks who are just good for banging. In the latter category, Playing offers a weepy Judy Greer (too needy), a competent, assertive Catherine Zeta-Jones (too aggressive), a coked-out Uma Thurman (slumming it! Uma, GTFO of this movie), and a dressed-down, jaundiced Jessica Biel, whose sensible cheekbones make it clear from frame one that she's the only one capable of plunging George's toilet heart. TOO BAD SHE IS ENGAGED TO SOMEONE ELSE! Goodness, I wonder where this is going. Sorry your parents divorced, everybody, and remember—don't kick with your toe.