Critics Have Chosen The Worst Gerard Butler Movie And It’s Controversial

By Doug Norrie | 2 weeks ago

gerard butler phantom of the opera

Gerard Butler has cranked out some hits in his career with the actor’s last couple of offerings scoring pretty well in the eyes of critics. But it hasn’t been all perfect along the way. Far from it. And there have, for sure, been some duds on the resume with Butler seeing a multi-year run of flicks that fell on the sillier side even when that wasn’t the initial intention. Thanks to Rotten Tomatoes, we know what the worst Gerard Butler movie is and, frankly, it’s really not all that surprising. That’s right, Playing for Keeps is the loser in the clubhouse for Butler and it doesn’t seem like this movie ever really stood a chance. 

Playing for Keeps came out in 2012 and stars Gerard Butler as former professional soccer player George Dwyer. He’s going through a bit of a rough patch with his playing career long over and is now struggling to pivot into a later career broadcasting gig. Along the way, he’s asked to coach his son’s youth soccer team while he also has to watch his ex-wife start a new relationship. It’s all kind of a meandering mess of a film with the coaching gig meant to provide a chance for Butler’s character to get a little “redemption” and “perspective” seeing as how he’s lost his way just a bit. Check out the trailer for Playing for Keeps and see what I mean about this Gerard Butler movie: 

Critics crushed Playing for Keeps on nearly every level, landing it with an abysmal 4% on the review aggregator. It’s a stunningly-low score with critics complaining about the acting performances, the unrealistic story, the convoluted and sappy plot that was bad even for the worst kind of romantic comedy. They had no time for the performance of Gerard Butler and some were almost shocked by how bad it was considering the rest of the cast. There are other notables here including Jessica Biel, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman, Judy Greer, and James Tupper. Plus it was directed by Gabriele Muccino who was coming off of Will Smith-led movies The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds. 

Playing for Keeps came during a rough critical run for Gerard Butler with the actor also putting out The Bounty Hunter (12%), Machine Gun Preacher (28%), Olympus Has Fallen (50%), Gods of Egypt (15%), and Geostorm (17%) in and around the same time. And Playing for Keeps completely bombed at the box office, making only $28 million which was significantly below the reported $55 million budget. That’s a studio disaster of the highest order. 

But recent years have been better for Gerard Butler with 2020s Greenland (78%) and 2021s Copshop (81%) both coming in as critically acclaimed. Greenland is actually getting a sequel and Gerard Butler has a ton of other work coming down the pike. Last Seen Alive is due out later this year plus he’s got The Plane, Kandahar, and All-Star Weekend all in post-production. Here’s to hoping he never sees the same critical depths of Playing for Keeps.