Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (The Scorpion King) lends his trademark charm and formidable charisma to the role of Joe Kingman,
a pro football superstar who unexpectedly finds himself caring for a precocious young girl played by Madison
Pettis ("Cory in the House"). With Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer") as Joe's workaholic agent and Rosalyn
Sanchez ("Without a Trace") as the little girl's football averse dance teacher, the talented supporting cast also
includes Gordon Clapp ("NYPD Blue") and Morris Chestnut (Like Mike). Directed by Andy Fickman (She's the
Man), The Game Plan puts a hilarious spin on the tough world of professional sports in a comedy delight for
the whole family.
High-living Boston Rebels quarterback Joe Kingman (Johnson) finds his world turned upside-down when
seven-year-old Peyton Kelly (Pettis) shows up at his door and announces she is his child from a
brief early marriage and needs a place to stay while her mother is away on business. For the next month, Joe
is suddenly saddled with unfamiliar parental responsibilities like ballet class and homework, while also getting
to know his daughter. As he tries to lead his team to a championship season, Joe navigates the rocky shoals
between macho man and girly-girl cultures with hilarious and heartwarming results, building to an outcome he
never saw coming.
The Game Plan Main Cast List
Brian J. White
... Joe Kingman
... Peyton Kelly
... Stella Peck
... Monique Vasquez
... Travis Sanders
... Kyle Cooper
... Jamal Webber
... Karen Kelly
... Coach Mark Maddox
The Game Plan delivers as a good popcorn film for the whole family. There's nothing ground-breaking, but the film is good enough to join Disney's library of always-watchable family-friendly fare. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson again exhibits that charisma that first gained him fame in the world of pro wrestling, but here he also shows comedic timing. He's willing to be foiled by not only his young co-star, but even his canine sidekick and since Johnson played big-time football before being sidelined by injury, he's believable in the role of star quarterback as well. This means that what football action is included looks realistic and isn't going to disappoint sports fans.
However, it is not on "The Rock" alone that the charm of The Game Plan rests on. Young Madison Pettis plays Johnson's daughter. Though she occassionally falls into that frequent trap of being too cute for the film's own good, she also is wonderfully precocious and independent. Of course, there is the usual ham-handed lesson, which in this case has Joe Kingdom learning that substance is much better than empty style. Along the way, he learns to trust his teammates to help him win the big game. There are hints of a romance between Joe and the ballet teacher, which we're guessing was toned down to ensure a PG rating. The film has it's weak spots, such as many of Joe's teammates being two-dimensional., but when we watched the film with our whole family, everyone enjoyed it and more importantly wanted to see more when the film ended.
The DVD extras were surprisingly good. The deleted scenes mostly were scenes of Joe and Peyton as well as a longer sequence that made the ballet's storyline more coherent. These were nice inclusions. The bloopers were the disappointed extra in that they were very short. The making of featurette was mostly fluff, but did include some information on the film's production. The two ESPN features were nice. One was a piece that talked about The Rock learning to portray a believable quarterback on the field. The second was a mock profile that enhanced Joe's selfish attitude portrayed in the film and was amusing to see interviews with the cast in character.
The Game Plan DVD Extras:
— Deleted Scenes with Director's Introductions [~18:00] - "Joe Actually Loses One", "Joe's Party", "Joe's Special Friends", "Practice With Peyton", "Peyton's Sharing Lesson", "Can You Catch?", "Like Father, Like Daughter", "Rebels' Owner" & "Ballet Extended"
— Bloopers with Marv Albert [~3:00]
— Drafting the Game Plan [~20:00] - Making of Featurette
— ESPN's Sportscenter: The Rock Learns to Play QB [3:30] - Sportscenter piece with ESPN's Sean Salisbury.
— ESPN Sportscenter DVD Exclusive: The King in Search of a Ring [5:00] - Mock sports profile on Joe Kingman.
— Peyton's Makeover Madness - In a set-top feature, help Peyton "redecorate" Joe Kingman's apartment with fun virtual arts and crafts.