Gerard Butler and Noah Lomax are father and son in Playing for Keeps.

Gerard Butler and Noah Lomax are father and son in Playing for Keeps.

REEL REVIEWS: Butler finally scores a goal

Playing for Keeps, starring Scottish actor Gerard Butler, is not your typical rom-com.

  • Dec. 14, 2012 4:00 p.m.

A former soccer (football) star, George Dryer (Gerard Butler) is trying to get his life back in order with his son, (Noah Lomax) who lives with his ex-wife (Jessica Biel).

George begins coaching his son’s soccer (football) team (The Cyclones) and although the team gets better, the onslaught of amorous soccer (football) moms only complicates matters.

We say, “It’s not your typical rom-com.”

TAYLOR: This film is billed as a romantic comedy. They got that half right. It’s a romantic drama, with occasional lighter moments. I didn’t hear much laughter from the ladies in the theatre, nor the lone man. However, Playing for Keeps is still a very good movie, with believable characters and common, yet powerful situations. It’s also just as enticing a film for a man as it is for a woman. It’s not like Butler walks around any less naked than Uma Thurman.

HOWE: I enjoyed this movie, which really surprised me. When I read the write up about it I nearly cried, “Not another bad Butler movie, pleeeease.” He’s not the best actor in the world, but this time out he gave a solid performance. Also, I don’t think it hurt having Thurman,  Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid kicking about in the background.

TAYLOR: The boy, too (Noah Lomax), was very effective as the son who barely knows his dad. I went through a divorce myself with my two sons trapped in the middle. The boys wound up moving to California and we saw each other only in installments over the course of their growing up. It’s a very difficult and painful situation for anyone to be in. So perhaps personal experience might have interfered with my ability to see Playing for Keeps as a comedy, but then again, there was very little laughter.

HOWE: What are you on about? I laughed a few times throughout, but then again I know what the “w” word (rhymes with banker) means. I don’t think many parents would be happy hearing their nine-year-old shouting that word about on the footy field.

TAYLOR: Playing for Keeps is an emotional, realistic modern tale about a broken family trying to heal itself, one person at a time. It tugs at heart strings, yet does so without being sappy or phoney. It’s sexy without being cheap or rude. Its conclusion is not the happy Hollywood kitsch that one would expect, nor is it disappointing. It’s quite like life. It made me smile and made me sad. It’s a well crafted film that everybody is going to forget about in 3… 2… 1…

— Taylor gives Playing for Keeps 3 strange streak jobs out of 5.

— Howe gives it 3 power up drinks on the crossbar out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

–– Peter Howe and Brian Taylor are movie reviewers living in Vernon, B.C.