The Gameplan Kind of Works. Michelle Alexandria’s Review!

The Gameplan EclipseMagazine.com Movie Review

I’ve been a fan of the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson since his debut in the WWE, he’s one of the few (ok, only wrestlers) to truly crossover and have a decent film career. I’m not counting Hulk Hogan (Mr. Mom, anyone?). After trying his hand as an action hero, he does what all big wannabe action stars do, they go the kiddy route. Arnold started this trend, then Vin Diesel did the tough guy who has to take care of kids and now it’s Johnson’s turn to try and mine this material in The Game Plan. An unoriginal, stale, stereotypical family Disney film. With that said, I actually liked this film, but then I’m a sucker for this type of lightweight fair.

There’s no real reason for me to like this film, but I think Johnson really gets a chance to show off the softer side of his tough guy image, without really having to stretch too much. Just flash those pearly whites of his and its golden. The chemistry between him and his co-star Madison Pettis works really well. Madison does the Disney kid cute thing pretty well, while somehow avoiding that “annoying cuteness” that I hate so much. She’s smart (overly so), calculating, and does a decent job. She’s no Dakota Fanning, but she could be with more experience.

Director Andy Fickman attempts to avoid the standard over the top Disney, kiddy slapstick humor, but it’s a Disney film so there has to be something, like a moment where Peyton (Pettis) turns on the blender and it explodes all over Kingman’s (Johnson) kitchen. It’s as lame and stupid as you would think it’d be, but these moments are few and far between.

I suppose you want to know what this movie is about? The Rock is the conceited quarterback of a pro football team who discovers that he has kid named Peyton. He has to learn to take care of his new daughter, while he’s in the middle of the hunt for a Championship.

Fickman wisely focuses on the relationship between these two and that’s what makes this film work. All the extraneous bits are just that. There’s no need for Kyra Sedgwick to be in this with her big, weirdly shaped red lips to be his Agent, or the cardboard cutouts of the rest of Kingman’s teammates.

The film tries to make the statement that you can’t have a kid and be selfish at the same time. Kingman (The Rock) is the type of quarterback who doesn’t trust his receivers in a clutch situation and while this is mentioned by the sports commentators, it’s never brought up as an issue on the team. All his teammates still love him and worship him, they never confront him about how he plays the game.

Speaking of the game the writers seem to just be part of some factory where notes get lost in the shuffle. There are plot threads that start or mentioned, but never finished and weird twists at the end that make no sense. For instance at one point they are playing in a playoff game that somehow becomes the Championship game midway through, and if he’s in the NFL why not just call it The Super Bowl? It felt completely off.

If you like this type of film – and I do, then you’ll like this, it’s definitely not something you run out and see, or spend full price on. But if it’s on HBO it’s worth checking out. I’m recommending because I like The Rock and I’m a sucker for this type of fluff.

Final Grade B-

EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Posted 9/28/07

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