NEW THIS WEEK
-- A SO-SO ROM-COM ABOUT A FORMER SOCCER STAR WHO CAN'T GROW UP ENOUGH TO RECONNECT WITH HIS SON AND HIS EX:
"PLAYING FOR KEEPS" PG-13 -- George (Gerard Butler), the protagonist in "Playing for Keeps," is a handsome former soccer star who can't seem to fight off the advances of single and married moms. Thus this marginally amusing film is not quite for middle-schoolers. It has no explicit sexual situations, but it's full of implied ones, some involving marital infidelity. Most of the characters are either reprehensible or dull. Even though he's broke and divorced and just coaching their kids' grade-school soccer team, George is irresistible to all those women, the most glamorous of whom (Catherine Zeta-Jones) wraps her legs around him and the richest of whom (Uma Thurman) removes her panties (nudity only implied) in front of him. The camera always cuts away before anything explicit happens, but the implication is clear. Poor George. The one-time Scottish sports hero only moved to this Virginia suburb to be near his ex, Stacie (Jessica Biel), and their 9-year-old son Lewis (Noah Lomax). Determined to show Lewis he's now a dependable dad, and to win back the newly engaged Stacie, George decides to coach Lewis' soccer team. But then the seductions begin: a wealthy dad (Dennis Quaid) even bribes him; a soccer mom who's a former sportscaster (Zeta-Jones) gets him an audition at ESPN. The movie seems to end multiple times, as George mends his ways, then backslides.
THE BOTTOM LINE: In addition to all the implied sexual liaisons and infidelities, adult characters use crude language and mildish profanity and drink beer and wine. Father and son take a joy ride in a Ferrari and nearly crash it.
-- A GOOD CAST STRUGGLES WITH A CLICHED SCRIPT IN THIS LOW-RENT THRILLER:
"DEADFALL" R -- Too violent and sexually explicit for most under-17s, this wholly derivative crime drama will soon disappear to video. The entire script seems cobbled together with ideas and lines from other, better crime movies. Still, some 17 and older will like the snowy northern setting, gruff characters and snowmobile chases. Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) are adult siblings with just a hint of incestuous lust between them. We meet them in the snowy north near the Canadian border, where they're just committed a big robbery. Addison crashes their car and then shoots a policeman who comes to help. This starts him on a killing spree. He and Liza split up, planning to reconnect after she's found someone she can seduce into helping her. She targets Jay (Charlie Hunnam), a former boxer who's just out of prison for throwing a fight. He's returning to see his parents (Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson) for Thanksgiving. Jay falls for Liza. She sends his parents' address to Addison, who has been hiding out in a hunting cabin with a mom and two children, after killing their violent stepdad. The local sheriff (Treat Williams) and his men are on Addison's trail, but it is the sheriff's daughter (Kata Mara), also a deputy, who cracks the case, though her sexist father tries to keep her out of it. The mess comes to a head at Jay's parents' house, where Addison with his shotgun holds everyone hostage.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The point-blank gun deaths and non-lethal gunshot wounds are not portrayed especially graphically for an R rating. However, "Deadfall" is graphic when showing a character losing a finger in a fight, and later cauterizing the stump. A police officer dies when he rides his snowmobile into a barbwire fence, which cuts his throat. The wound is not shown, but much blood flows. Jay and Liza engage in sexual situations with explicit moves, but no nudity. The script includes strong profanity.
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-- OK FOR KIDS 8 AND OLDER:
(c) 2012, Washington Post Writers Group.