Playing for Keeps appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie came with a competent but not great image.
Most of the movie displayed positive clarity and delineation, but some exceptions occurred. Occasional wide shots appeared a little softer than expected; those were infrequent, but they did come along for the ride. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also stayed away from this clean image.
In terms of palette, Keeps went with natural tones affected by a mix of teal and orange. These weren’t heavy, but they did give the flick an odd look for a romantic comedy; Butler occasionally looked a bit like an Oompa-Loompa. Still, I blamed the visual design for that, not the transfer. Blacks showed good depth, while low-light shots boasted nice clarity. This was a “B” image.
Don’t expect much more than a standard romantic comedy mix from the disc’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, though a few minor exceptions occurred. Those mainly occurred at soccer games, which opened up the spectrum in a decent manner. Otherwise, the audio tended to be pretty restrained, so we didn’t get a lot of involvement and activity. This was fine for a movie of this sort, however, so the low-key soundfield wasn’t a detriment.
Audio quality was perfectly acceptable. Speech showed nice clarity and naturalism, and music was reasonably distinctive and dynamic. Effects lacked much to stand out, but they appeared accurate, and they showed mild punch when necessary. All of this seemed good enough for a “B-“.
When we shift to extras, we find two featurettes. The Playbook: Making Playing for Keeps lasts eight minutes, 24 seconds and provides comments from producers Kevin Misher, Heidi Jo Markel, John Thompson, Alan Siegel and Jonathan Mostow, screenwriter Robbie Fox, technical soccer advisor Oliver Wyss, and actors Gerard Butler, Judy Greer, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jessica Biel, and Noah Lomax. “Playbook” looks at the film’s origins and development, story/character topics, cast and performances, working with the director, and shooting the soccer scenes. A few decent details emerge, but this is mostly fluffy promo material.
Creating an All-Star Team: The Cast of Playing for Keeps occupies six minutes, 34 seconds and features info from Fox, Markel, Butler, Biel, Zeta-Jones, Greer, and actors Dennis Quaid and Uma Thurman. As expected, “Team” discusses cast, characters and performances. It follows the same lines as “Playbook”, so we get a smattering of useful notes but mostly encounter happy talk.
Seven Deleted Scenes run a total of 10 minutes, 17 seconds. We get “Stacie Lectures George” (1:54), “Carl Asks About Patti” (1:26), “Dryers On Dock” (1:12), “Patti’s Leaving Carl” (2:08), “Stacie and Lewis Talk in the Bedroom” (0:36), “George and Lewis Talk in the Bedroom” (1:40) and “George Borrows Carl’s Ferrari” (1:21). As often occurs with deleted scenes, secondary characters get much of the time here; while George maintains a consistent presence, the sequences tend to expand the supporting parts like Carl, Lewis and Stacie.
These fail to provide anything of interest. None of the character expansions contribute much, and none of the scenes deliver entertainment. Indeed, they make Stacie look like even more of a nag than she does in the final film. I admit I’m not sure how the editors knew what to cut – everything in the end product stinks, too – but I can’t claim any of these shots should’ve been in the movie.
The disc opens with ads for Safety Not Guaranteed and The First Time. These also pop up under Previews along with clips for Robot & Frank, Now Is Good and Here Comes the Boom. No trailer for Keeps pops up here.
If you want to see Oscar-caliber actors used as nothing more than horny housewives, dig into Playing for Keeps. If you desire a random, meandering “plot” and one-dimensional characters, this one’s for you! If you’d like to check out a flick that provides any form of entertainment, stay away from it. The Blu-ray comes with generally good picture and audio as well as a handful of minor bonus materials. Maybe 2012 produced a less charming romantic comedy, but I can’t think of one right now.