Friday, 7 December 2012

‘Playing for Keeps,’ ‘Hyde Park on Hudson’: Review Revue

This week we’ve got just one new movie at the multiplex: “Playing for Keeps,” a romantic comedy starring Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, and Uma Thurman. Plus, in limited release, we’ve got “Hyde Park on Hudson,” starring Bill Murray and Laura Linney. Find out what the critics have to say on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Playing for Keeps”

Some bad movies are aggressive in their awfulness, while others are simply uninspired or clichéd. Critics say “Playing for Keeps” falls into the latter category, squandering an attractive cast on a script that offers plenty of jarring tonal shifts but no surprises. Gerard Butler stars as a washed-up soccer pro who decides that coaching his kid’s soccer team will help make up for all the time he’s been out of his son’s life. However, the other players’ moms immediately take a shine to the hunky new coach, and complications ensue.  “Playing for Keeps” is currently at zero percent on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer; here are some of the reviews:

Rotten: “It is truly baffling that all the talented, acclaimed actors involved actually read this script and then agreed to devote their time to this movie, especially given its uncomfortably flagrant misogynistic streak.” — Christy Lemire, Associated Press

Rotten: “Contrived and phony from beginning to end, ‘Playing for Keeps’ never does make sense of its characters, who flip and flop from scene to scene.” — Chris Hewitt, St. Paul Pioneer Press

Rotten: “Not only is it not funny and not particularly romantic, it treats women like idiots.” — Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona12 Republic

Rotten: “It is perplexing as to how such an unambitious, paint-by-numbers work got made.” — Louis Black, Austin Chronicle

“Hyde Park on Hudson”

“Hyde Park on Hudson” has all the trappings of an Oscar contender: it’s a period piece about an important historical figure (Franklin D. Roosevelt) who’s played by an unlikely actor (Bill Murray). Unfortunately, critics say the film doesn’t match its cosmetic gravitas; it’s well acted and visually strong, but the story veers into soap opera territory and never explains what made FDR great. With war brewing in Europe, the King and Queen of England visit Roosevelt at his summer getaway in upstate New York, where the president is dealing with the needs of both his wife and his mistress. “Hyde Park on Hudson” is currently at 44 percent on the Tomatometer; here’s what some of the critics say:

Rotten: “Roosevelt was one of the towering figures of the 20th century, but he and his accomplishments scarcely register in this amorphous, bafflingly aimless movie.” — Manohla Dargis, New York Times

Rotten: “Instead of focusing on FDR as a president, this movie gives up half its length to tawdry soap opera.” — James Berardinelli, ReelViews

Fresh: “Bill Murray as FDR? It takes a few minutes to get used to, but once he settles into the role of the 32nd president, the idiosyncratic comic actor does a wonderfully jaunty job of it.” — Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

Fresh: “Funny, believable, historic and hugely entertaining.” — Rex Reed, New York Observer

For more movie reviews, trailers, and pictures, check out

Gina Hiraizumi Paula Jai Parker

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