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The Game Plan
DVD disk
Jan 22, 2008 By: Jason Adams
The Game Plan order
Director:
Andy Fickman

Actors:
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Madison Pettis
Kyra Sedgwick

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A superstar quarterback gets some shocking news in the form of an eight year old girl who claims she’s his daughter. With the championship game and his playboy lifestyle both hanging in the balance, the muscleman must face his biggest—and littlest!—challenge yet.

(See, I can totally write those schmaltzy summaries on the back of DVD covers.)
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Arnold Schwarzenegger did it. Vin Diesel did it. And now The Rock has done it. I suppose every “tough guy” actor who wants to be a viable movie star needs to a get a family film out of their system and broadcast to a wider audience. So you pretty much know what to expect here.

THE GAME PLAN is the very definition of a cookie cutter movie. Once could probably guess every beat of the story before ever watching it, from the sappy man-child-grows-up plot to the inspirational sports drama. The characters are very broad and easily defined by single word adjectives. Then again, the flick is aimed for the family crowd and I suppose its financial success shows it works well for that target audience. I didn’t spot anything objectionable that I wouldn’t want my hypothetical children seeing, nor anything so awful that a parent couldn’t put up with it for two hours. Both groups should eat up the relentless moral message and wacky hijinx with equal appetite. There’s also a bulldog in a tutu if that sort of thing floats your boat.

I always thought Dwayne Johnson (billed here as The Rock for the last time) had natural charisma as an actor, which is modestly displayed in THE GAME PLAN. He does the cocky, self-assured schtick well and more importantly he’s not afraid to make himself look like a fool throughout the film, including talking with a lisp and doing ballet. His performance even sells the gooey emotional and heartfelt parts too. Madison Pettis, who plays his daughter, is undeniably very cute—self-aware and verbose well beyond her years—and her chemistry with Johnson is a highlight of the film.

I kind of glossed over the negative stuff because the film’s shortcomings should be obvious and expected. If you want a clichéd but passable Disney comedy, you could do worse than THE GAME PLAN. If you want to see the former wrestling champ bash some heads in, seek out a different title.
THE EXTRAS
Drafting THE GAME PLAN (20:17): This behind the scenes piece was surprisingly thorough for this kind of movie, focusing on everything from casting to production to ballet and football training. Also, the female screenwriters are kinda cute.

Deleted Scenes (16:28): The majority of these further demonstrate the obvious or are simply extensions of existing scenes. (Did we really need more of the ballet sequence?) Available with optional introductions by the director.

Bloopers (3:01): Your typical blooper footage made more annoying by over-editing and narration from Marv Albert.

ESPN Sportscenter’ s The Rock Learns to Play QB (3:33): Sean Salisbury conducts a quick interview with The Rock about his physical preparation for the movie and previous experience as a football player.

ESPN Sportscenter’s The King In Search of the Ring (5:03): Joe Kingman’s fictional biography from the movie shown in full and hosted by ESPN’s Stuart Scott.

There’s also an option to Make Over the menu with different music and moods, as well as a Game where kids can bedazzle some of the Rock’s most prized possessions with girly rhinestones.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
THE GAME PLAN follows the tough-guy kiddie movie playbook to a tee. If that’s the kind of film you or your children are looking for, you can probably add a couple stars to the score.

Extra Tidbit: The Rock tore his Achilles tendon right before production but jumped back in only two days after his surgery.
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