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Gerard Butler shows soccer chops in 'Playing for Keeps'

Jessica Biel, Noah Lomax, and Gerard Butler in

Jessica Biel, Noah Lomax, and Gerard Butler in a scene from "Playing for Keeps." Credit: FilmDistrict

Critics were not kind to the new romantic comedy, "Playing for Keeps," which opened Friday and stars Gerard Butler as a charming middle-aged guy from Scotland with nice abs who is irresistible women – just like in real life!

But that is not the only true-to-life thing about the role. Butler plays a former European soccer star, and credibly looks like an aging player when kicking balls in the movie.

I tried to ask Butler about that during the premiere's after party Wednesday, which I attended mostly so I could tell people I was at the same bash as Justin Timberlake and his new bride, Jessica Biel, who plays Butler's ex-wife.

Alas, just as our very brief chat was getting around to soccer a handler dragged him away. But I was directed to a promotional video in which he talked about his soccer background.

"That was my sport," he said. "I was a great player, but I was never a skillful player. I wasn't a guy who could do tricks and keep [the ball] up. Now I'm a guy who can do tricks and keep it up."

Butler, 43, said practicing for the movie left him "hooked all over again. I want to play soccer all the time now."

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