The Game Plan (2007)
The Game is on for Johnson
Peyton, I have an an answer for your question. After this game, win or lose, you're the best thing that's ever happened to me - Joe
Joe Kingman (Dwayne Johnson - Get Smart) is the king of the NFL and a very happy bachelor leading the free life he absolutely adores. But all that changes when 8 year old Peyton (Madison Pettis) shows up at his bachelor pad and tells Joe that she is his daughter. All of a sudden Joe's life is thrown upside down as he has to learn to be a father, something which doesn't come naturally as he is so use to his single life.
"The Game Plan" is on one level enjoyable, Dwayne Johnson delivering comedy and charisma as an unexpected father works. But "The Game Plan" is also as unoriginal as they come throwing at us that exact set-up of a single man suddenly finding his life turned upside down by arrival of a child and learning to be a father. We have seen the set up before, think "Three Men and a Baby" and more recently "The Pacifier" and you can pretty much guess what to expect from "The Game Plan". But it still works, it is fun, it is entertaining if a little over long and actually one of the more entertaining of these sorts of instant parenthood movies.
Okay so the storyline in "The Game Plan"is completely obvious and although the whole thing is dressed up with the father being a very selfish, egotistical American Football star what we get has been done before. It goes through the various expected stages; the initial struggle with realising that he has a daughter, then the troubles as young Peyton wrecks his bachelor pad and life before we get some serious father, daughter bonding and just for good measure a lesson in life for Joe. But whilst it's very obvious it also works as you warm to Joe and Peyton as they bond, and laugh at the amusing scenes as she ruins his bachelor pad, bedazzles his clothes and fills the bathroom with bubbles.
The reason why "The Game Plan" works is down to Dwayne Johnson whose natural charisma makes it so much fun. Watching him go from almost repulsion of discovering he is a dad, the hardship of being out witted by a clever daughter through to the bonding and the fun is just a joy to watch. Johnson may not do anything any different to any other actor who has played a similar character, other than actually singing, but his delivery the sense of fun he gets across makes it work, makes you enjoy it even though you've seen it all before.
Aside from Johnson it has to be said that Madison Pettis who plays Peyton fluctuates between being entertainingly cute to being child actor annoying. Peyton is as unoriginal as the story itself so we have a cute kid who basically outwits her father and at the same time wins him over with love and fun. And on that level Pettis does exactly what the character calls for being adorable, cute and fun, it's just a shame that the character also calls for being shrill which ends up being annoying as well.
Other than Johnson and Pettis who basically dominate "The Game Plan" there is Kyra Sedgwick who is cast as Joe's manager Stella Peck and is basically wasted, cropping up now and then having nothing really to do other than fill in a few lulls in parent - daughter drama. And then there is Roselyn Sanchez as ballet teacher Monique Vasquez who although a complete and utter cliche character who brings a tiny bit of romance to the storyline is basically gorgeous.
What this all boils down to is that "The Game Plan" is both obvious and unoriginal with many elements, in fact most of the elements, having been done before in other similar movies. But thanks to Dwayne Johnson who delivers an entertaining performance as Elvis obsessed Joe it ends up pleasant and good fun. In fact whilst "The Game Plan" is all very obvious it is one of the better plays on the bachelor suddenly becoming a father movie.
Tags: Instant Families
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