GAME PLAN, THE
Joe Kingman's (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) Boston-based pro football team, The Rebels, is chasing their long-awaited championship. As their victorious quarterback, Joe has been living the ultimate bachelor fantasy: he's cool, rich, famous and the life of every party. But his life is turned upside down when Peyton (Madison Pettis), the 8 year old daughter he never knew existed, arrives on his doorstep. Joe is thrown into the challenge of being a dad with activities like ballet - with the alluring ballet teacher, Monique (Roselyn Sanchez) - bedtime stories and baby dolls. Equally perplexed is his hard-edged mega-agent, Stella Peck (Kyra Sedgwick), herself without a parental bone in her body.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson - the actor, not the wrestler - needs an agent as tough as the one depicted in this film by Kyra Sedgewick, who can find him really good scripts to work with. And directors who can find the truth in the work. Dwayne is a good actor when he's allowed to be, as some of the later scenes in The Game Plan show. (And as some of his previous outings suggest, including roles in films like Be Cool and an uncredited cameo in Reno 911! Miami) But for the most part he's made (or allowed) to pretend, matching the overstated screenplay with overstated antics.
Madison Pettis is a lovely little girl, and doesn't need the super-precocious dialogue or worldy wise remarks, or superbitch repartee. Her Peyton is likeable all the same, and a credit to the film. Kyra Sedgwick gets to chew up the scenery but by the time her character arrives, most of the damage has already been done. The acting honours must go to Roselyn Sanchez as the beautiful, strong but sensitive and sensuous ballet teacher, who manages to make a tough transition from football agnostic to fan with style.
There is a big difference between 'simple' and 'simplistic' and the two women who wrote the screenplay should know which is which, especially with subject matter like this. Too much of the set up is fake: we can't really believe how Johnson's character behaves, and we can't quite believe the story either. There is a mawkish twist in the story that is cheap and unimaginative; it's just a manipulative device to make everything work.
On a positive note, the film improves as it goes on, but the heavy handed first half drags its mood through to the end, where predictability and corn mix into a concoction that seems as unappetising as the quirky health and fitness smoothie that Joe Kingman creates in his kitchen for breakfast with his disgusted little daughter.
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DWAYNE 'THE ROCK' JOHNSON INTERVIEW
GAME PLAN, THE (G)
CAST: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Madison Pettis, Kyra Sedgwick, Roselyn Sanchez, Morris Chestnut, Hayes MacArthur, Brian White, Jamal Duff, Paige Turco, Tubbs, Gordon Clapp, Kate Nauta, Jackie Flynn, Lauren Storm
PRODUCER: Gordon Gray, Mark Ciardi
DIRECTOR: Andy Fickman
SCRIPT: Nichole Millard, Kathryn Price
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Greg Gardiner
EDITOR: Michael Jablow ACE
MUSIC: Nathan Wang
PRODUCTION DESIGN: David J. Bomba
RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 1, 2007