Playing for Keeps
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Playing for Keeps is a 2012 American romantic comedy film directed by Gabriele Muccino, starring Gerard Butler with Jessica Biel, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman and Judy Greer in supporting roles. The film was released on December 7, 2012, in the United States and Canada by FilmDistrict. It received negative reviews from critics and was a box office bomb, grossing just $27.8 million on a $55 million budget.


George Dryer is a former professional Scottish football player who played for Celtic, Liverpool, A. C. Milan, D.C. United and the Scotland national team. He is largely seen as a has been , and his attempts to sell his sports memorabilia and become a sports announcer are met with ambivalence. His relationship with his son Lewis is equally unsuccessful. When he discovers his ex-wife Stacie is marrying her boyfriend Matt, George grows despondent.

After dropping off an audition tape of him practicing sports announcements, George goes to help Lewis’ soccer practice. The team s parents pressure Stacie to ask George to become the new coach, and he reluctantly agrees. George is bribed by Carl King to give his children preferential treatment, and attracts the attention of the divorced Barb, ex-sportscaster Denise, and Carl s wife Patti. Denise is particularly forward, sending George an email that she is thinking of him.

At practice, George is invited to a dinner party at Carl s house, is approached by Barb, and is told by Denise that she has been given a copy of his audition tape to watch and pass along. At Carl s party, George learns Carl has been having affairs; unbeknownst to Carl, Patti knows. Carl lends George a Ferrari under the implication that he takes care of his friends , which George drives to see Stacie. They discuss their relationship, but Stacie says that she does not wonder about the past anymore.

Returning home, George finds Barb waiting. She confesses her loneliness, and shows him her plans to start dating again, and he compliments her. This results in her seducing him and having sex together. The next morning, Barb leaves a Thank You note, and Carl calls George, asking him to pick up money from Patti to bail him out of jail, as he got into a fight at the party. Doing so makes George late to pick up his son, but he entertains Lewis by letting him ride in his lap and drive the Ferrari. George discovers Lewis is sad that his mother is marrying Matt, whom he will not call dad . Denise calls, explaining that ESPN is looking for a new football sportscaster and George must come to the studio to record a tape. George and Denise go to the empty studio and George struggles to record a professional tape, but eventually gains confidence and records a TV-worthy tape. Immediately afterwards, Denise hops on to the table that he’s standing behind to record and asks him whether or not coaching soccer is different from sportscasting. After he answers, she moves the subject from parents to single moms and eventually herself as she asks him whether she’s a “distraction or inspiration” to him as she unbuttons her dress, revealing her bra. After some slight resistance from George, she seduces him into sex. This causes George to be late to pick up Lewis again, straining his relationship with both Lewis and Stacie.

Arriving home, George is berated by his landlord Param for not paying his rent but driving a Ferrari, and receives a call from Patti that she is in his bed. Realizing she is actually in Param’s bed, George distracts him by paying him with Carl s bribe money. Patti continues to approach George sexually, but he rebuffs her, telling her that she should leave Carl rather than have an affair. His relationship with Lewis worsens when he sees Denise kiss George, leading Lewis to realize why his father was late. Lewis is furthered angered due to noticing George not paying, due to receiving a phone call by Barb mid game, asking whether or not they’re fling could be a potential relationship, as well as Denise making a motion at George of tugging her ear, which she mentioned earlier right before kissing him that her doing that is a sign of her telling him he’s thinking about George on top of her. This spurs Lewis into fighting during a game, and he tells his mother he wants to quit football. Coaxing Lewis into playing football in the rain, George and his son bond. Stacie and George reconnect romantically, complicating her relationship with Matt.

George receives the ESPN job thanks to Denise, but he rejects her romantically. The job requires him moving to Connecticut, and he asks Stacie to move with him. Stacie initially refuses to come with him, but he meets her at her car and she kisses him. At that day’s game, George learns Barb is dating Param, and Carl has discovered misleading pictures of Patti in George s house. As George and Carl fight, Stacie is upset by the pictures, and Lewis team wins the game.

George leaves for his new job, but ultimately chooses to stay with Lewis instead. He renews his relationship with Stacie, who has broken off her engagement with Matt, and becomes a local sportscaster in Virginia.


  • Gerard Butler as George
  • Jessica Biel as Stacie
  • Uma Thurman as Patti
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones as Denise
  • Dennis Quaid as Carl
  • Judy Greer as Barb
  • James Tupper as Matt
  • Noah Lomax as Lewis


The project began as a baseball story called Confessions of a Little League Coach but was later changed to soccer. Gerard Butler was confirmed to star in the film on February 23, 2011. On May 7, 2011, a casting call was held for extras to appear in the film. Filming began during the week of April 5, 2011.

On July 16, 2012, FilmDistrict changed the title from Playing the Field to Playing for Keeps .

Director Muccino later blamed the film’s muddled focus on having thirteen producers, each wanting a different movie , and also on bad marketing.


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (October 2019)

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 4% based on 90 reviews, with an average rating of 3.35/10. The website s critical consensus reads, Witless, unfocused and arguably misogynistic, Playing for Keeps is a dispiriting, lowest-common-denominator Hollywood rom-com. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 27 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating generally unfavorable reviews . Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of B+ on an A+ to F scale.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2 out of 4, and praised Biel for her performance: Jessica Biel all but steals the show as Stacie . Justin Chang of Variety wrote: 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. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine panned the film and said Just stay away. It s awful. Writing for The New York Times, Laura Kern listed it as the Worst Film of 2012 .


At the 33rd Golden Raspberry Awards, Jessica Biel was nominated in the Worst Supporting Actress category.

Year 2012
ReleaseDate 2012-12-07
RuntimeMins 105
RuntimeStr 1h 45min
Plot A former sports star who’s fallen on hard times starts coaching his son’s football team as a way to get his life together. His attempts to become an adult are met with challenges from the attractive football moms who pursue him at…
Awards Awards, 3 nominations
Directors Gabriele Muccino
Writers Robbie Fox
Stars Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Dennis Quaid
Produced by Andy Berman,Gerard Butler,Ed Cathell III,Margaret Coll,Boaz Davidson,Danny Dimbort,Sarah Donohue,Andrea Leone,Raffaella Leone,Avi Lerner,Heidi Jo Markel,Diego J. Martinez,Kevin Misher,Jonathan Mostow,Lonnie Ramati,Danielle Robinson,Peter Schlessel,Trevor Short,Alan Siegel,John Thompson
Music by Andrea Guerra
Cinematography by Peter Menzies Jr.
Film Editing by Padraic McKinley
Casting By Denise Chamian
Production Design by Daniel T. Dorrance
Art Direction by Bob Danyla
Set Decoration by Kristin Bicksler
Costume Design by Angelica Russo
Makeup Department Andrea Bowman,Robin K. Byrd,Margeaux Fox,Dugg Kirkpatrick,Lauren Kress,Rose Librizzi,Charlotte Parker,Ebony Star Parson,Kim Perrodin,Vasilios Tanis,Jenny-King Turko,Randy Westgate,Crystal Woodford
Production Management Ed Cathell III,Sarah J. Donohue,Todd Gilbert
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Jason Altieri,Scott August,Richard L. Fox,Seth Hansen,Jayson Merrill
Art Department Robert Allison,Eric Earl Aycock,Genny Bamburg,Hannah Beachler,Sean Bernard,William Bolton,Michael Calabrese,Daniel Coe,David A. Cole,Daniel Cooke,Matthew L. Crowson,Larry Dean Jr.,Larry L. Dean,Jill English,Forest Fagan,Jill Heather French,David Frye,Sanford Futch,Darrell Gorden,Eric Herzog,John L. Jackson,John Jarhead Gorman,Jeffrey L. Jimes,Phillip Joffrion,Thomas V. Johnson,Kyle King,Ernerst J. Levron Jr.,Jeff Lilley,Katherine Miller,Audra Muslow,David Myers,Scott Nifong,Tayelor Nifong,William Nutt,Bobby Owen,Rachel Perez,Todd Pittman,Terri Rainha,Robert M. Rives,Hannah May Roark,Adam Robbins,Marcus Robison,Cindy Seay,John Eric Seay,David Sessum III,David Sessum Jr.,Tom Smith,Floyd B. Sterling,Peggy Thompson,Michael Todd,Sherry Todd,Cydney Tucker,Penny Wesney,Cary Whittaker,Charles D. Wilson,Jason Wilson,Russell Wilson,Michael Wynn
Sound Department Steve C. Aaron,Wade Barnett,Javier Bennassar,Tom Caton,Kevin Cerchiai,Colette D. Dahanne,Mark DeSimone,William DiCenso,Brian Dunlop,Jesse Ehredt,David Esparza,Pino Halili,Justin Herman,Ellen Heuer,Robert Jackson,Sang King,Scott Kramer,Manny Leyva,Tim Limer,Travis MacKay,Tor McAfee Kingdon,Mack Melson,Chris Navarro,Thomas O Neil Younkman,Sarah Payan,Ric Schnupp,Gabriel J. Serrano,Leslie Shatz,Scott Streetman,Callie Thurman,Robert Troy,Irene Vinader,Jared Watt,David Wyman,Adrià Mateu
Special Effects by Blake Le Vasseur,Jason Pace,Rick Reeder,Richard Rupert
Visual Effects by Josh Allen,Kiril Altakov,Richard Aponte,Georgi Arsenov,Simeon Asenov,Yavor Asenov,Aaron Askew,Mitchell Baker,Bradley M. Baxter,Pavel Bayraktarski,John Brizzi,Aaron T. Brown,Martina Chakarova,Caylin Colson,Chris M. Cooper,Scott Coulter,Alexandre Daigle,Robert Nicholas Dauphinais,Ivelina Dobreva,Daniel Donchov,Dusty Emerson,Jonathan Erickson,Vasil Galabov,Svetoslav Ganchev,Joshua Garza,Georgi Gavanozov,Hristo Gebrev,Kiril Georgiev,Martin Georgiev,Sofia Gesheva-Aleksieva,Kiril Gizdov,James Going,John B. Gray,Keith Green,Nathan Grubbs,Danail Hadzhiyski,Errol Hanse,Jack Hebert,Chad Herrada,Travis Howe,Dobri Hristov,Svetoslav Hristov,Milena Hristova,Dave Hudson,Denitsa Ilieva,Angel Ivanov,Ivaylo Ivanov,Ivaylo Mechkata Ivanov,Rosen Ivanov,Tsvetan Ivanov,Venera Ivanova,Matthew S. Jennings,Brandon Tyler Johnston,Georgi Karantilski,Stanislav Kolev,Elena Koleva,Nikolay Kondarev,Zornitsa Kraseva,Zornitsa Krasteva,Kalin Krumov,Lazarin Kushev,Nikolay Kvetsinski,Kevin Langley,Athena Lawless,Petar Lilkov,Miroslav Liondev,Ryan Littlefield,Carson Majors,Yael Majors,Vasilena Makakova,Ivaylo Marinov,Peter Marinov,Petar Mariyanov,Silviya Mariyanova,Ryan Markley,Jordan Markov,Damian McDonnell,Wes Meyers,Nikolai Mihaylov,Radosvet Mihtarski,Radoslav Misarokov,Georgi Mitkov,Diana Moneva,Ivaylo Naydenov,Greg Nelson,Vladimir Nikolov,Esteban Olide,Nikolay Pachov,Kay Kyoung Park-Kim,Milena Peneva,Emily Perla,Nick Peshunoff,Svetoslav Petkov,Pavel Petrov,Gabriela Petrova,Julia Petrova,Dee Anne Phillips,Iasen Pisarov,Haralan Popov,Maria Popova,Stephen H. Porter,Kaleb Prichard,Amy Putrynski,Iavor Radev,Andrew Sagar,Dustin Scholl,Patrick Schultz,Velin Simeonov,Ivaylo Slavov,Boris Sokolov,Kaloian Stoyanov,Stoimen Stoyanov,Kamen Stoykov,Brad Sutton,Wilson Tang,William Tatum III,Brandon Taylor,Stefan Tchakarov,Fausto Tejeda,Drew Tobin,Valentin Todorov,Peter Tomov,Dimitriana Torneva,Aleksandar Toromanov,Anton Tsolov,Filip Tsonkin,Svetlin Tsovev,Aleksander Tsvetkov,Eric A. Tuxen,Desislava Valcheva,Alexander Valev,Daniel Vasev,Asen Velkov,Juvenal Vique,Michael Walker
Stunts Gregg Brazzel,Emily Brobst,Mark De Alessandro,Tracy E. Thomas,Isabella Thompson
Camera and Electrical Department Ulyan Atamanyuk,Patrick Barnes,Bob Bates,Lee Blasingame,Danny Brazen,Chris Buller,Clay Burbank,Jessica Lakoff Cannon,Andrew Jason Clark,Brown Cooper,James B. Crawford,Steven Cueva,Dean Cundey,Nezben Deason,Bryan DeLorenzo,Larry Dorsey Jr.,Eric Dyson,David Easley,Greg Edwards,Eli Everhard,Guy Fernandez,Christopher Fisher,Bob Foster,Robert Foster,Jeremy A. Furlong,Kirk R. Gardner,Mike Gianccio,Michael Giannaccio,Everett Grant,Andre Green,Daniel Greenup,Josiah Greenup,Brian A. Harrison,Gary Harvill,Tim Hawn,Andrew Hawthorne,Richie Hollis,Tom Hutchison,Ryosuke Kawanaka,Richard Landry,Xavier Luevano,Chris Lyon,James Marks,Joe A. Martinez,Dan McKee,David McSwain,Adam Mitchell,Jamie Moreno,Robert Morrison,Brent Swampy Mullins,Paul Olinde,Robert Owen,Nick Paige,Max Patrucco,Jared W. Petticrew,Nancy Piraquive,Ahmad Powell,Robert Presley,Michael C. Price,Don Reddy,Dale Robinette,Peter D. Roome,Landon Ruddel,Ted Sapp,Michael E. Satrazemis,Taylor Seaman,Wayne Sharp,Stephanie Sousa,Kevin Stevenson,Shaun Stone,David Stragmeister,Jason Sutton,Brandon Swain,Jeff Taylor,Todd Thompson,Margarito Trejo,Nathan Trucks,Tedd Underwood,Todd Underwood,Antonio Washington,James D. Wickman,Michael R. Wohlfield,Marvin Wright,Thomas Young
Casting Department Ericka Bonilla,Tara Duncil,Ryan Glorioso,Liz Ludwitzke,Brinkley A. Maginnis,Ania O Hare,Ben Pollack
Costume and Wardrobe Department Myeshea Baker,Amanda Steeley Bankins,Alice Landry Boyer,Pam Buchanan,Conan Castro Jr.,Carly Cooper,R. Todd Jones,Holly Jordan,Joseph La Corte,Paul Lewis,Jane Ryder,Rachel A. Walker,Rodney Williamson,Dusty Wilson,Joulles Wright
Editorial Department Floyd Burks,Kyle DeVriendt,Valance Eisleben,Zach Frankel,Nancy Fuller,Brian Hayashi,Ryan Helsley,Doug Jaqua,Jason Joseph,Bruce Lomet,Damien McDonnell,Todd Mitchell,Michael Moncreiff,Harry Muller,Carrie Oliver,Andre Trejo,Ian Turpen,Matthew Woolley
Location Management Pat Abrahamzon,Kenneth Brown,Jeff Crandell,Charlie French,Colby Isom,John A. Metoyer,F. Stanley Pearse Jr.,William Chad Watson
Music Department Selena Arizanovic,Mark Berrow,Ben Foster,Antongiulio Frulio,Goffredo Gibellini,Cassandra Howland,Will Kaplan,Steve Mair,Jon Mooney,Everton Nelson,Allen Walley,Bruce White,Warren Zielinski
Script and Continuity Department Alicia Accardo,Shams Charania
Transportation Department Allyn Ary,Skip Barbay,Mark Bascle,McKinley J. Basco,David Bell,Donald Bradley,David Bullard,Bret Carroll,Annette Chambers,Joe Comeaux,Dennis W. Cook Jr.,Charles Coulter,Sam Craytor,Dave Dixon,A. Paul Donaubauer,James Dunn,Randy Duplechine,Jamie Ezell,Greg Faucett,Antonio Fletcher,Jared Foshee,Phillip Frost,Connie Herring,Gary L. Horton,Greg Justin,Robert Lacase,Reggie Louque,Todd Martinez,Gary McClain,Deena McLaughlin,John McLaughlin,Bill Mitchell,Ken Moon,Aaron D. Moore,Justin Nance,Henery Payne,Joe Pelliccio,Daniel Pilmaier,Victor Sanders,Ken Smith,Tim Sowell,Judy Stucky,Dan Sumner,Tara Talley-Brown,Tracy E. Thomas,Dave Tucker,Davy Vance,Dustin Viola,Robert Watts,Jonathan Wensel,Charles Whitaker,Dan Wiseman,James Yeates,Pablo Cardone
Additional Crew David Acosta,Tsila Adler,Deanna Angel,Sam Ardick,Joe Armand,Bobby Arnot,Kim Baker,Andreas Bardill,Mikel Baron,Samuel N. Benavides,Jennifer Benton,Christopher Blackmore,Robbie M. Bowman,Dottie Buck,Christian Cage,Gregory S. Carr,Federica Ceraolo,Conor Charles,Daniel Chavez,Leslie Clampitt,James Connell,Chris Cooper,Judi Cordray,Alfredo Corona,Alexandre Coscas,Christian Crow,Paul Cumbie,Donna Cushing,Tana David,Lindsey Dean,E del Mundo,Jenn Derrenger,Alex Diaz,Christopher Dickerson,Annie Domingo,Mary Frances Eglin,Becky Emerson,Denton Emerson,Rick Eyler,Tony Faler,Christian J. Forgo,Zach Frankel,Ashley Franklin,John Fremes,Ross Gabrieli,Fred Gabrielli,Pamela Garrett,Diego Garzon,Matt Goldstein,Jeffrey Greenstein,Allen Harris,Letitia Hoaas,Sue Hohnhorst,Deborah Hopkins,Eric C. Hunter,Leigh Janiak,Marcin Janowski,Judith Jennings,Greg Jones,Lyndon Jones,Christian Juneau,Daniel Kaslow,Adam J. Kohn,Ashley Kravitz,Joseph La Corte,Amy Blanc Lacy,Eric Ladd,Liz Landers,Kenneth Lecompte,Laura Levine,Jessica Luebe,Dov Mamann,Maeve Mannion,Joan Mao,Gail Marks,Wade Marshall,JaLynn Martin,Patrick McBride,Tanya McMullen,Kelly D. Mills,Laura Moses,Dimiter D. Nikolov,Beth Bruckner O Brien,David B. Oliver,Shannon Parker,Ashley Gwen Patrick,David Albert Pierce,Aniko Piri,Jack Przyblyski,Susan Pusateri,Lonnie Ramati,Erika Katherine Reckert,Gary Reynolds,Alec Richker,Lucas Riddle,Andrew C. Robinson,Rebecca Rogers,Juan Carlos Rulas,Tyler Samardick,Gustavo Santana,Imelda Santiago,Vicki L. Sawyer,Mary Schillereff,Avivah Sharon,Druscilla Smith,Sarah Soape,Emily Somers,Patricia Stanley,Aaron J. Stone,Cid Swank,Tara N. Talley-Brown,Ray Tamayo,Tanya Thanadpojanamart,Isabella Thompson,Michelle Tonjes,Amy Louise Tripodi,Robert Tyler,Carrie Tyson,Greg Washington,Julie Weisel,Pat Williams,Jennifer Williamson,Angie Wu,Oliver Wyss,Adele Yoshioka,Jonathan Yunger,Anthony Yuse,Nimrod Zalmanowitz,Ashley Zastrow,Pablo Cardone
Thanks Wayne Alexander,Michael Aloyan,Gretchen Bleiler,Patrick Muldoon,Benjamin Scott,Lia Sofia,Jake Stango,John Yarincik
Genres Comedy, Romance, Sport
Companies Eclectic Pictures, Evil Twins (I), G-BASE
Countries USA
Languages English
ContentRating PG-13
ImDbRating 5.7
ImDbRatingVotes 30370
MetacriticRating 27
Keywords soccer,soccer team,soccer coach,soccer mom,father son relationship