Playing for Keeps is generic Hollywood fare, but one thing makes it stand out: As of this writing, it's managed to score a 0% at Rotten Tomatoes, despite a star-studded cast that includes Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Here's what critics are saying about the story of a former soccer star's romantic trials:
- "As Hollywood movies increasingly strive for immaculate blankness, they have come to resemble Rorschach ink blots," writes Mark Jenkins at NPR. As in this film: "Is it a heartwarming romantic drama? Or a cynical sex and sports comedy? There is no wrong answer, dear ticket buyer."
- Here's an answer: It's a "a modestly affecting reconciliation drama wrapped in a so-so sports movie by way of a misogynistic romantic comedy," observes Justin Chang in Variety. "After barreling along in conventional but inoffensive fashion," the film "devolves into an unfunny parade of female sexpots, mystifyingly played by actresses one would have assumed to be well above this level of mistreatment."
- Instead of being funny, "the caricatures are so clumsy that it's more of a nails-on-blackboard experience." writes Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. "A well-toned guy who is good with kids is the ultimate aphrodisiac for sex-starved soccer moms. Three very good actresses are squandered to prove the point."
- To put it simply, Playing for Keeps is "mechanical and exhausting, like a windup toy of a monkey crashing together cymbals for 106 minutes while incrementally winding down," notes Carrie Rickey in the Philadelphia Inquirer.