DVD Release Date:  January 22, 2008
Theatrical Release Date:  September 28, 2007
Rating:  PG (some mild thematic elements)
Genre:  Sports/Drama
Run Time:  99 min.
Director:  Andy Fickman
Actors:  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kyra Sedgwick, Christine Lakin, Madison Pettis, Roselyn Sanchez

A lot of movies skimp on character development, but The Game Plan isn’t one of them.

In fact, the filmmakers spend a looooong time showing us just how cool quarterback Joe Kingman (The Rock) is. The camera lovingly pans on his Heisman trophy, his spare room full of cool Elvis memorabilia and his high-tech living room complete with a remote control that even dims the lights and plays romantic music in case one of his latest model/actresses girlfriends stops by.

But it takes about, oh, three seconds to get the message. Yeah, he’s successful, but Joe’s life is empty, with or without the Super Bowl ring he’s yet to win.

And then one day, his perfect life is thrown for a serious loop when an eight-year-old girl named Peyton (a very cute Madison Pettis) shows up at his door claiming to be his daughter. Reluctant to accept the news at first, he naturally questions his paternity since he and his ex-wife had been divorced for ages. But Madison was smart enough to show up with her birth certificate and a few other important documents that prove she’s his kid, and now with her mom in Africa for a month, Peyton needs a place to stay.

Of course, given Joe’s rather self-centered tendencies and how he’s never taken care of kids before, he and Peyton don’t exactly get off to a good start. Like youngsters usually do, Peyton messes up the kitchen, doesn’t particularly care for grown-up food and forgets to pick up her toys. If that wasn’t enough to drive a control freak like Joe insane, she also has a penchant for bedazzling anything she can get her hands on, including Joe’s date-night dress pants.

Then throw in an opportunistic public relations girl (Kyra Sedgwick in a funny but underdeveloped role) who’s keen to get rid of a distraction like Peyton, and things get a whole lot more complicated for Joe, his football career and his newfound family.

While bordering on the cheesy in moments, (but hey, it stars The Rock, what can you expect?) The Game Plan is still a fairly solid choice for amusing family entertainment. Other than the fact that Peyton tells a few lies to end up on her Dad’s doorstep in the first place, the overall themes about the importance of family and that success isn’t everything is surprisingly counter culture.

Also refreshing is the noticeable lack of curse words (not a one in the entire movie) and rude humor typically used to cover up plot holes. Now if only more movies could take a cue from that. … But in the meantime you’ve got The Game Plan, a movie that lays on the cute really thick.
 
CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  There are a couple of scenes in a bar where there’s casual drinking.
  • Language/Profanity:  Surprisingly, there was none.
  • Sex/Nudity:  A few of the ladies wear low-cut dresses
  • Violence:  None that isn’t of the comic variety.
  • Worldview:  Peyton tells several lies in order to meet her dad in the first place.