Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Movie Review: "The Game Plan" (2007)

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Movie"The Game Plan"
Director: Andy Fickman
Year: 2007
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Self-centered professional football quarterback Joe Kingsman (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) loves and lives the partying, bachelor lifestyle. His world changes one day when he finds out he has an eight year old daughter named Peyton (Madison Pettis), who needs to stay with him for a month. Now, he must find a way to juggle single fatherhood with his championship aspirations while he attempts to check his ego at the door.

Disney's "The Game Plan" is a family comedy directed by Andy Fickman and stars Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson as an egotistical professional football quarterback named Joe Kingsman. Joe is the kind of guy that re-watches tapes of himself giving interviews and has artistic portraits of himself on the walls of his swanky high-rise bachelor pad. His home is equipped with all the latest technology, including a gigantic television so he can hear himself speak in booming Dolby surround sound. Joe's got no care in the world about anyone or anything but his career. His life is thrown for a loop when his eight year old daughter Peyton, played by Madison Pettis, a daughter he didn't even know he had, shows up unannounced needing to stay with him for a month while her mom is off working in Africa. Initially hard-nosed and wanting to get through the month as quickly as possible, over time, Joe's selfish heart begins to soften as Peyton begins to teach him what's really important in life.

If "The Game Plan" sounds familiar, that's because it is. This movie is your basic formulaic Disney family film. It is often the fantasy of a child who hasn't known one or either of their parents that they discover the missing parent is a wealthy athlete, a movie star, or some form of royalty, and that one day, will come to get them even after a lot of time has passed. It also enforces the idea that having a family is the most important thing in life. Also, that a bachelor living the party life, a man who has no kids or a steady relationship, will never truly be happy until he has a family. According to this film, partying, womanizing, and the stuff you own to fill your home are just a ways to fill a vacant, empty hole in your heart that could be easily filled by having a child. Wow...talk about backwards. This film is really schmaltzy, super cheesy, and ultimately predictable, but it does have its moments of meaningfulness, and several cute attempts at trying. Some of the humor is obviously geared towards little kids, but considering it's a family movie, this is understandable.

As we have said in nearly every single review featuring The Rock, Dwayne Johnson is just so damn charming and likable, it's hard not to resist his flashy smile and the fact that his character actually owns portraits of himself on his walls. Madison Pettis is an adorable little kid, and she and Johnson work well off of one another, even when she's acting like a brat. Despite playing a self-centered person, we ultimately believe that someone like Joe could change his ways, and Johnson helps elevate this to something moderately enjoyable. It's definitely run of the mill when it comes to the Disney machine as a whole, but it has an undeniable charm thanks to these two leads.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 29%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Far From the Madding Crowd"

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