Maybe Playing for Keeps screened after WW press deadlines. Or maybe our critic was just too busy prowling for granola bars, orange slices and middle-aged babes at the nearest kids' soccer game. 

Critic's Grade: C-  

In Playing for Keeps, Gerard Butler stars as George Dryer, a former superstar struggling to make the transition from a guy who gets paid to play sports to a guy who gets paid to talk about sports. Dryer has recently moved to Virginia to bond with his son and rescue his ex-wife Stacie (Jessica Biel) from the dreaded clutches of her fiancé, Captain Rebound (James Tupper).

As the parent who got the short end of the stick in the custody battle, Dryer’s main parenting duty is chauffeuring his son to and from soccer practice. The youth team itself, the Cyclones, have fallen on hard times. The kids didn’t win a game last year, and their head coach reminds them—whenever he isn’t glued to his cell phone—that they aren’t playing a real sport, like football (I had to agree). A frustrated Dryer seizes the coaching job of the team through a bloodless coup.

The Cyclones learn to play the game. They start winning games. Dryer befriends a wealthy, violent philanderer (Dennis Quaid) who bribes him to let his son play goalie. Along the way, Dryer is hounded by an all-star lineup of ‘90s bombshells who have matured into hot, albeit troubled soccer moms (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman, Judy Greer). Dryer’s Scottish accent, rocking bod, thick and wavy locks and his commitment to helping children make him irresistible to these venerable vixens—and presumably to the target audience for this film.

Unluckily for the horny moms, Dryer is still very much in love with his ex-wife, which he proves by only banging a few of them. But winning Biel back by being a good father is harder than it looks. Whether his son sees him kissing Zeta-Jones or he misses a game because he has to bail Quaid out of jail, Dryer just can’t seem to get it right.

Playing for Keeps meanders through its 106-minute runtime, never entirely certain if it wants to be a feel-good comedy or a serious family drama. In the end, it settles on a generic happy ending, presumably designed to generate the most revenue. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go sign up to coach youth soccer and get in on this soccer mom action.