The Game Plan (2005)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Game Plan

Seeing this one came about after spotting an ad for it, which then prompted me to rent it some months ago. Having seen Dwayne Johnson in a number of family-orientated movies, I decided this had potential to live up to those. My family sat down to watch this one lazy Sunday afternoon, which inspired a boatload of giggle from my mother and I (I think we drove my dad crazy with all the laughing!) throughout the entire movie. It's a film that tugs at your heartstrings in equal measures as the laughs.

NFL megastar quarterback Joe “The King” Kingman (Johnson) has “the life.” His stats on the field have made him a superstar, so much so that he has countless endorsements and has won the public’s affection. On the field he is considered a leader but it is all that publicity that has made him conceited. A man without responsibilities, he has all the material possessions he wants, but other than casual girlfriends, at the end of the day, it's just him and his dog … until he is hit with the biggest surprise of all – he's a father! The eight-year-old daughter who shows up on his doorstep has all the right answers when questioned about Joe’s former marriage, but still he's less then accepting. In a panic he contacts his tenacious manager, Stella (Kyra Sedgwick) and the two attempt to devise a plan of how best to make this “go away.”

Peyton (Madison Pettis) is a clever, adorable child who isn’t about to let the fact that the man she has known from afar as her father doesn’t want her, deter her. She may be dwarfed by his size but she shares her father’s pointed determination… and could cause twice the trouble if given the chance; if they are going to make it work, the two of them have to concoct a winning game plan or otherwise, this father-daughter relationship is not headed for a touchdown.

Disney didn't script new story with this screenplay, but they did put their own spin on it and it's something that really works to their advantage. The cast is fantastic most especially from young Madison, to say nothing of the fact that she is adorable. Her matter-of-fact attitude is priceless and the way she relates to Dwayne was irresistible. Seeing Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer's Brenda Leigh) in this was a nice surprise (she was completely different but still has a number of zingers). The supporting cast includes Morris Chestnut and Roslyn Sanchez.

Typical of this plot, a warm-fuzzy feeling controls the majority of the runtime and is what viewers have come to expect from such a story – and if being honest, we want that feel-good emotion to rule something so entertaining. Each of the characters relate to each other and the audience well. (It isn’t hard to like any of them.) The plot may have a few holes or might not feel like it is entirely realistic, but that doesn’t ever seem to matter because we are so engrossed in the better part of the movie.  Much of the runtime does play into some clich├ęs and that can rub some people the wrong way, but I couldn’t have cared less in this situation.

The humorous parallels featured between ballet and football couples some really cute things in the story. The writer's giving Joe a female child was really the only logical choice. Obviously this is there to present further challenges; Peyton is a total girl and cannot be cajoled into the manly sport of football as an eight-year-old boy would have. Each of these scenes (even the heartbreaking ones) are beautiful on-screen as each scenario unfolds either comically or in the most touching fashion possible. The Game Plan sparkles with a sweet premise. There's nothing but genuine laughs and charming lessons of love sewn through, which are all the more appreciated by those who choose to recognize them.

(Rated PG: There are some minor implications of intimacy in relationships. Peyton is hurt a time or two by things her father says and is a little defiant at times.)


  1. Me and my family watched this movie a couple years ago I believe, we have loved ever since then. It is such a great movie with so many funny scenes. Mom favorite part was the ballet recital :D And we also love the Cinnamon cookies. Great review! Oh and I think it was your review of The Selection that made me want to read it, I don't think I was able to comment though... Team Maxon! Sierra
    Keep growing beautiful!

  2. Ah, I love this movie. :-) Great review, Rissi!

  3. I haven't seen this movie yet, but I did think the preview cute. Great review, and I love comedies. I'll have to check this one out next time I stop at Blockbuster. :-)

  4. This movie cracks me up every time I watch it. My favorite part is always watching the Rock at the dance recital...yep....makes me smile!!!

  5. Aw, this such a sweet movie! I loved it!

  6. This was such a good movie haha. :D

  7. Sierra - isn't it though? I love a film that can "tickle *your* funny bone" in genuine ways - or in simpler terms: uses humor that is NOT crude. The laughs are "real" in this movie and that is what makes me love it most. (Well... that and the character of Payton. :-D)

    The ballet / cinnamon cookie parts ARE the best. ;-)

    Aw! Really? I am glad my thoughts on the 'Selection' inspired you to read it - thank you. (Sometimes I wonder if my ramblings make any sense to anyone else. LOL!) I appreciate that. Maxon is (so far) my very fave.

    Glad you dropped by.

    Rosie - so do I. So do I. It is WAY cute. :-)

    Gwendolyn - awww! You must! It is ridiculously cute - my family just re-watched it and we found it as funny (if not more) the second time through. It is "classic" that way. :-)

    If Blockbuster doesn't have it, be sure to check your local video store. Enjoy!

    Ella - you and me both! It is just... adorable. That dance recital was great and I loved his team mates reaction after their poking fun of him. ;-D

    Jennifer - yes, it sure is! I love the humor and acting - and young Madison is just too cute.

    Lydia - ditto. :-)


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