Playing For Keeps Gabriele Muccino

Playing For Keeps Gabriele Muccino
2
Playing for Keeps is an astonishingly ugly film. Shots are out of focus; the colour is consistently washed out; and there's absolutely no visual trajectory or connecting stylization. It's like watching a Facts of Life TV movie where they go to Europe to study for a summer. Presumably this is because no one involved in the production cared. The plot, which is so ridiculously, singularly male that the intended female audience would surely stare at the screen in Dadaist awe, follows boring douchebag George (Gerard Butler) through a series of sexual escapades and lame efforts to win back the affections of his ex-wife while coaching his son's soccer team. He's an ex-athlete himself, which is presumably the reason the mother of every child on the team (Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Judy Greer) all want to be his personal geisha. The text of the story suggests that we're supposed to root for him — he's receiving calls from creditors and has a vague interest in playing a father figure to his son — but he's a screw-up that tends to make bad decisions and stick his penis where he shouldn't. But since he has absolutely no charisma, isn't particularly witty and is generally an entitled, self-involved piece of crap, it's almost tragic when ex-wife Stacie (Jessica Biel) starts waxing nostalgic and taking him seriously as a human being. Biel does her best to make a character out of her shrill, one-note antagonist, warding off George's many stabs at breaking-up her impending second marriage, while the other women involved all seem to be as aware of the bullshit factor of the film as the lazy cinematographer. In playing sexist figments of a male imagination, they go full-cartoon sexpot, camping everything up in an effort to make comedic the limitations of an ignorant writer. Why this movie was made and why anyone would think that a romantic comedy audience would care about such a grotesque protagonist remains as much of a mystery as the ending of the film, which takes the Judeo-Christian, idealistic route, sealing the coffin of ill-intentions and misguided efforts. No supplements are included with the DVD, likely because no one could find anything positive to say. (VVS)