The Rock may be
Game, but the
is poorly executed in this new-dad family comedy
There’s a fine line—just two letters, in fact—between precocious and precious. Unfortunately The Game Plan not only crosses it but runs 80 yards down the field, and one can’t help but throw a flag on the play.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as Boston Rebels quarterback Joe Kingman, an Elvis fan with an ego as large as the self-portrait that looms over his ultimate bachelor pad. His hard-partying ways are sacked, however, when Peyton (Madison Pettis) shows up on his doorstep claiming to be his daughter. In the midst of playoffs leading up to the big game and his chance to finally earn a ring, Joe can hardly afford the distraction. But endorsement considerations require that he embrace his new role as dad overnight, even if that means exchanging football pants for ballet tights. In the process, natch, he learns there’s more to life than the gridiron.
That Joe possesses all sorts of objectionable qualities requiring redemption—he plays as selfishly as he lives—is a given in a script like this. But Peyton’s role in affecting his turnaround, especially on the field, is peripheral at best, and his revelation while watching game film is unearned.
Still, the Rock is game, poking fun at his own persona, and Kyra Sedgwick (TV’s The Closer ) as his aggressive agent, especially in her early scenes, further demonstrates her ability to create strong yet quirky female characters. Moreover, pitting a former pro wrestler against a pink-clad ballerina about the size of his throwing hand seems a setup ripe for comedy, especially among the family film’s target demographic.
But rather than an 8-year-old, we get a personality many decades older disguised as a kid with advanced dialogue, reasoning and manipulation skills behind a forced, gap-toothed smile. The playbook called for cute; instead, the filmmakers delivered cloying. —
Cast: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Madison Pettis, Kyra Sedgwick, Roselyn Sanchez and Morris Chestnut
Director: Andy Fickman
Screenwriters: Nichole Millard & Kathryn Price
Producers: Gordon Gray and Mark Ciardi
Genre: Family comedy
Rating: PG for some mild thematic elements
Running time: 110 min.
Release date: September 28, 2007