Playing for Keeps, about a former soccer
star struggling to stay relevant to his young son while fighting off the
attention of a host of soccer moms, sadly, doesn’t look like a keeper,
at least not for the lads, despite the tantalizing presence of Jessica
The premise of Andy Tennant's latest — a former cop turned bounty hunter (Gerard Butler) gets the chance to bust his ex-wife (Jennifer Aniston) but gets caught up in a twisty mystery that leads the couple to reconsider their relationship — must have sounded foolproof to studio executives hanging out in a hot tub time machine set for the 1980s. This lazy action-oriented romantic comedy can't quite seem to make up its mind what it wants to be, and its leads aren’t exactly suited to carry such an unpackaged burden. Grade: D.
Screenwriter Kurt Wimmer sees a world in which there is little balance in terms of law and order, and to right the scales drastic action must be taken. His 'Law Abiding Citizen' is a loving father and husband (Gerard Butler) who survives the vicious home invasion that takes the lives of his wife and young daughter. The more brutal of the two perps escapes with relatively little punishment, and Butler comes to blame that miscarriage of justice on a fast-rising assistant district attorney (Jamie Foxx). Grade: B-.
Almost exactly 20 years ago, 'When Harry Met Sally' practically perfected the sympathetic control-freak as romantic comedy heroine. And it takes more than a list-maker with a pretty face to earn the "sympathetic" part of that description. Sadly, Katherine Heigl is no Meg Ryan. Grade: C.