PLAYING FOR KEEPS

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NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Joanna.

The movie starts with clips of a soccer game. George Dryer (Gerard Butler) was a famous player in that game where they won. George Dryer is now practicing to be a sports announcer, overdue on his bills, practicing his announcements in his living room. He’s trying to sell his old memorabilia for cash. He’s only offered $300 for all his old jerseys, shoes, etc., which is very upsetting, but he’s a “has-been.”

He goes to pick up his son Lewis (Noah Lomax) from his ex-wife Stacie's (Jessica Biel) house. He’s telling him about the new apartment he has – he apparently moves around a lot. He also hasn’t seen him in a few weeks. Lewis is playing on a soccer team, but they’re not very good. George takes him to soccer practice, but the coach is preoccupied. While out to dinner, Lewis reveals that Stacie is getting married to her boyfriend Matt (James Tupper). George is very depressed, watching himself on tape doing announcements.

George goes down to the station and sees his friend. He gives him the tape of him doing sports casting, asking him to look at it and hopefully get a job, but knows it’s a long shot. Back at soccer practice, George goes out to the field to show the kids how to kick, since the coach is on the phone not caring. All the kids are into it and are actually kicking the ball well. He drops Lewis off, and he’s sad to see him go. At home, Stacie calls him to tell him that the parents want him to coach the team. He doesn’t want to do it, but Stacie calls him out, so he agrees.

At practice, the kids are thrilled, and as kids do, start revealing more than is necessary about their lives. Carl King (Dennis Quaid), Hunter’s dad, comes to talk to George on the field. He’s thrilled that he’s coaching the team. He gives George an envelope full of money, telling him that it pays for the uniforms and the trophies, but is also a bribe to have his son Hunter play goalie and his daughter sing the national anthem before games. The [single] moms are all swooning over George. When he gets home, he has 15 messages. The moms are all calling him, leaving messages about their kids, what they should play, and tips for dealing with their kids.

When he gets to the game the next day, Barb (Judy Greer), Billy’s mom, approaches George. She’s divorced and gets very emotional. Carl’s daughter sings the National Anthem very badly. George gives the kids a pep talk, and they’re off. Carl’s wife Patti (Uma Thurman) along with the other women are very impressed by George. Another mom, Denise (Catherine Zeta-Jones), approaches George. He recognizes her from her old days in sports casting. George takes Lewis home for his first time sleeping over at his house. He has his own room and tells him that they will fix it up. Denise sends George an email that she’s thinking of him (it seems they’re all single), and Lewis wakes up with a bad dream. He wants to go home. George is very upset, but Stacie just tells him to give it time.

At practice the next day, Carl approaches George and invites him to a dinner party that Friday night, implying that he has connections. Barb also runs up to him and gives him a hug. Then there’s Denise who tells him that his friend Chip gave her a copy of his sports casting audition to watch and pass along. On the field, Carl is bribing the kids with $20s if they can make a goal past him. They challenge George. He says he’ll give him $100 if he can hit the bottle on the top of the goal. He does, and all the kids and parents are screaming for him.

Friday night he’s at Carl’s party talking himself up, telling stories, and everyone loves him. Carl talks to George privately and lets him know that he’s having an affair. Patti comes by and talks to George, explaining that the party was really thrown for George and that she knows that he always has affairs. She thanks George for taking good care of her son and then walks away.

Outside, Carl sees George admiring one of his cars (a Ferrari). He lets him borrow it, reminding him that he takes care of his friends. He drives to Stacie’s house and wants to talk to her, despite the fact that it is after midnight. He wakes everyone up with all the crazy car alarms. He talks to her about one time they were in Italy and rented a Ferrari. He asks her what would have happened if he hadn’t screwed everything up. She says she used to wonder about it, but not anymore.

When George gets home, Barb is there waiting for him, talking about how lonely she is. She invites herself in for a drink. The landlord watches them from his home (George owes him money). Barb tells him that she’s going to start dating again and shows him her online profile. She asks him if he didn’t know her if he would call her. He says yes and tells her that she needs to have more confidence in herself. She leaves, but not before asking him if he did know her would he call. He tells her yes. Suddenly there’s a knock on the door from Barb again. She tells him that she won’t cry, and they sleep together.

In the morning, George is woken up by the phone ringing. Barb is gone but left a note. It’s Carl on the phone. He’s been arrested and needs $10,000 for bail. He got into a fight at the party. George goes to Carl’s house to get the money from Patti for the bail. She tells him that he does this all the time. George calls Stacie/Lewis to tell them that he’s running late. He picks up Lewis in the Ferrari, which thrills Lewis. Unfortunately though, they missed the game they were going to see. To make up for it, he puts Lewis on his lap and they go into a park, and he lets him take over the wheel. Lewis asks George if he’s sad Stacie is getting married. He tells him yes, but Lewis says he isn’t going to call him dad. Denise calls him to tell him that she likes his tape and ESPN is trying to expand their soccer coverage, and they have to do the tape right then and there. They go to her house and Denise leaves the kids with the nanny. They go to the studio, and although he has some trouble at first, he gets the hang of it and does well. Although he has to get back to get Lewis, they hook up in the studio. Lewis is extremely upset when he picks him up. He takes him back to Stacie’s house who is also upset since he brought him home so late.

When he gets home, the landlord is upset since he is driving a fancy car, yet still has not paid rent. In the middle of the conversation, Patti calls him saying she’s waiting for him in his bed. In reality though, she’s in the landlord’s bedroom. George takes the money from the envelope that Carl gave him and tries to distract him so Patti can get out. Patti goes into his house and starts stripping despite George’s protests. He tries to get her to leave, calling her Mrs. King, not Patti. He tells her that she should just leave him. While she’s in the bathroom, his bell starts to ring. It’s the landlord – George gave him an extra $100. Patti, thinking it was Carl, escapes.

The next day at the field, Denise tells George that her station manager thinks he has a real shot. She continues to flirt with him, and Lewis, driving in with Stacie, sees her kiss him and is upset since he knows that he was lied to about why he was so late the other day. While in the middle of coaching the game, Barb calls him, causing George not to be paying attention when Lewis scores a goal. From the stands, Stacie can tell something is up. Lewis pushes a kid and gets a penalty and starts screaming at George that he hates him. Later, he calls Stacie, and she tells him that Lewis wants to quit the team. He needs her advice.

They meet for a late lunch and talk, but she tells him that if he came back there for her, he’s wasting their time. He picks up Lewis, and they go to play soccer in the pouring rain. He tells him that if he can play in this, he can play in anything. They have a great time, and Stacie goes to “check on them,” seeing them play in the rain. Back at his house, Lewis finally fell asleep there. They have a game the next day. Stacie goes to pick him up, and Lewis invites George out with them to the arcade. They have a great day together, and she even goes back to the house with them to see his room. She and George almost kiss, but she leaves upset. She gets home and Matt questions where she was and where Lewis is because it’s not George’s night with him. She is a little scattered, but tells Matt she’s fine. Back at George’s, Denise calls him and is outside. She tells him that ESPN likes his tape, and they want to meet with him in person. He’s grateful, but tells her that he can’t be with her anymore. He goes in the house and Lewis tells him that he loves him and asks him not to leave again.

George goes to meet with the people at ESPN. He wanders off the teleprompter for personal commentary, which the people love and want to hire him. The problem is that the job is across the country. When he gets back to CA, he goes to the bridal boutique where Stacie is getting fitted for her dress. He tells her that he got the job and has to move to Connecticut. He wants them to move there with him. She tells him that if he loves her, let her go. He meets her outside though, and they kiss in her car. She gets home to pick up Matt and Lewis for his soccer game.

At the game, the landlord shows up with Barb – they have hooked up! It’s the last game of the season. Lewis scores a goal and the teams are tied. Carl shows up and gives George an envelope filled with pictures of Patti undressed in his house from that night. With one minute left in the game, George and Carl are beating each other up. Meanwhile, they have won the game. George tells Stacie it’s not what it looks like, but obviously she is upset by his actions.

George goes to Stacie’s house to say goodbye. He takes Lewis for a walk to tell him the news. He tells him that they will still see each other all the time with visits. He gives him the first medal he ever won. Stacie is watching them from inside the house, and Matt approaches her, asking if she still loves him. She cries, telling him that she never stopped loving George. George, driving to the airport, turns around. He tells Lewis he is there to stay. Stacie walks outside while they are playing soccer and tells him that she called off the wedding. She plays with them, and they live happily ever after. Oh, and George is a sportscaster in LA.

a.w.


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