Metascore
27

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 26
  2. Negative: 15 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Dec 6, 2012
    50
    Jessica Biel all but steals the show as Stacie.
  2. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 6, 2012
    50
    A sloppy, poorly focused comedy.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 10, 2012
    0
    Just stay away. It's awful.
  4. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 6, 2012
    50
    As a movie, it's not much. But it's the best showcase for his charm that Butler has ever had.
  5. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 6, 2012
    40
    Perhaps, if this movie fails, studios will finally accept that we all deserve better. Biel knows it already, and Butler keeps up in their scenes together.
  6. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 6, 2012
    38
    The shenanigans of randy soccer moms and their obnoxious blowhard husbands are intended as comic relief. But the sappy plot of this formulaic romantic comedy is just as silly as its inane attempts at farce.
  7. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Dec 6, 2012
    25
    There isn't a moment in the entire picture in which you will recognize an element of your own life.
  8. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Dec 6, 2012
    38
    This isn't a genre-less character study, it's myopic romantic comedy, and watching a woman of Catherine Zeta-Jones's easy carnality and fathomless beauty compete for the attention of Gerard Butler, who's pining for Jessica Biel, is dismaying, like spotting Anna Wintour in line at a soup kitchen.
  9. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 6, 2012
    40
    Sometimes the movie swerves toward farce, sometimes into the zone of smiley family comedy and at other times into full-on weepiness. None of it is especially credible or engaging.
  10. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Dec 6, 2012
    16
    The film is a bedroom farce without the farce, a fish-out-of-water comedy on sun-cracked lake-bed, a story of fatherly redemption that barely gets past the hair-mussing stage.
  11. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 7, 2012
    38
    Only Biel and Greer lift it above the level of bleh.
  12. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Dec 6, 2012
    38
    This saga of a former soccer star coaching his son's team in order to worm his way back into the heart of his ex-wife aims to be warm and funny. Alas, it is mechanical and exhausting, like a windup toy of a monkey crashing together cymbals for 106 minutes while incrementally winding down.
  13. 50
    Though the script takes pains to paint George as a passive boy-man, there's just not enough lovable here and too much of the thoughtless lout. Butler beware: In acting as in soccer, if you keep taking dives, sooner or later you pay the penalty.
  14. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Dec 7, 2012
    12
    One of those movies that comes "straight from the heart" - the heart of the hack screenwriter's manual that pushes formulaic structure to cover up a lack of compelling characters, genuine emotion or actual humor.
  15. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 6, 2012
    25
    A dreary, dismally unfunny excuse for a romantic comedy.
  16. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 6, 2012
    30
    Simply put, it's a mess.
  17. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Nov 23, 2012
    40
    A modestly affecting reconciliation drama wrapped in a so-so sports movie by way of a misogynistic romantic comedy, Playing for Keeps can't stop tripping all over itself.
  18. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 6, 2012
    50
    At some point you hope the actor (Butler) will find a movie that will give him the right material to make hearts truly beat faster. Until then, it appears we'll have to settle for films with more flaws than his characters.
  19. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Dec 10, 2012
    30
    Yet it's not entirely forgettable. I'll long be haunted by Dennis Quaid's manic performance as a palm-greasing dad who seems to be under the influence of bath salts-tweaked-out acting that matches the camera movements.
  20. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Dec 7, 2012
    30
    Style can be a risky thing in a movie like this, which aspires above all to inoffensiveness. Originally titled "Playing the Field," which was deemed too racy, this rom-com would have been more aptly renamed "Running Out the Clock."
  21. Reviewed by: Stephen Farber
    Nov 23, 2012
    40
    This is a good premise for a comedy, but somewhere along the way, it got diluted and turned into a sappy, feel-good story of family togetherness.
  22. Reviewed by: Ken McIntyre
    Jan 11, 2013
    20
    Playing For Keeps is awful – and not in a hilarious Ed Wood way.
  23. Reviewed by: A. A. Dowd
    Dec 11, 2012
    20
    Husbands and fathers, do not try this sh-- at home. Such "lovable" misbehavior is best left to the professional cads.
  24. Reviewed by: Darren Franich
    Dec 7, 2012
    42
    The central question of the movie becomes: Can George triumph over his inability to stop hot women from throwing themselves at him?
  25. Reviewed by: Louis Black
    Dec 5, 2012
    40
    Watching this all-too-predictable romantic comedy/drama, my overwhelming thought was this: Given all the great filmmakers and film projects that can't find funding, how did this effort secure its reported $35 million for production?
  26. Reviewed by: Eric Henderson
    Dec 5, 2012
    12
    Gabriele Muccino's film is knee-deep in "don't hate the player, hate the game" territory.
User Score
4.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 8
  2. Negative: 6 out of 8
  1. Dec 28, 2012
    0
    I want to punch Dennis Quaid in his **** face. Don't go and see this stupid piece of trash. Stay home and finger your anus or something, it would be far more entertaining than this. Full Review »
  2. Dec 9, 2012
    0
    Watching YouTube videos of people vomiting is a better use of digital media, and with better acting. I stayed through the whole film as a measure of endurance. Apparently, I have a high threshold for pain. Good to know. This movie makes me wonder if the acting and production staff know just how terrible the movie is during filming. I feel sorry for the post production people who had to watch this flop over and over to get the editing and sound correct. They are the true heroes. My hats off to you, you aren't paid enough. Full Review »
  3. Dec 7, 2012
    2
    Image This reviewer is a sucker for romantic comedies and even more of a pushover for