Matthew Lickona 2:02 p.m., Sept. 23
Playing for Keeps
Play keep-away! Jessica Biel's reward for her brief, vanilla-flavored performance as Vera Miles in Hitchcock is a lousy dye-job and a starring role opposite a wrong man in this feculent rom-com. Gerard Butler stars as Biel's ex, a once-mighty sports figure whose recent run of bad luck finds him coaching their son's soccer team. The result is more bad news than anyone can bear. Butler wants nothing more than to reunite with his family — but Biel has already set the date with her replacement beau. What better way for Butler to show his new-found sense of commitment than by sleeping with any soccer mom who rattles his zipper? Catherine Zeta-Jones plays a common tramp (what else is new?), but it's Uma Thurman and Dennis Quaid who sink to the bottom in what can only be described as career low points. Short of finding uranium in their backyard, this thing couldn't have wrapped in a more forced and sappy manner. Not to be the spoiler in your Christmas stocking, but if given a choice between the hunky, charismatic Butler and the no-name they cast in the Ralph Bellamy role, who do you think Mrs.Timberlake will choose? Better an eternity spent in hell with the scuzzy scoundrels of Killing Them Softly than five minutes in heaven with the creeps Biel plays opposite. Professional sap-slinger Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds) directs. 2012.