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STUDIO:
Disney 
MSRP: $29.99
RATED:  PG
RUNNING TIME: 110 Minutes 
SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Bloopers with Marv Albert
- Deleted Scenes
- ESPN’s ‘The King in Search of a Ring’
- ESPN’s ‘The Rock Learns to Play QB’
- Drafting the Game Plan featurette
- Universal ‘Mood’ Remote Control Menus
- Peyton’s Makeover Madness Set-Top Activity

The Pitch

Three Men and a Little Lady minus two with the Steve Gutenberg character being Michael Vick if he didn’t murder dogs and give herpes to women under an alias.

The Humans

Dwayne Johnson, Kyra Sedgwick, Morris Chestnut, Roselyn Sanchez


The locker room atmosphere was a little too loose, as Jerry’s postgame coitus celebrations could attest to.



The Nutshell

Joe Kingman is at the top of his game; he lives a life of luxury and opulence in a high-rise apartment, he’s leading his team to a playoff run at the quarterback position, and his agent is positioning him to become one of the pop culture icons of his time through endorsement deals and the such. But wouldn’t you know it, old sperm comes back to haunt him in the form of a little girl who arrives at his doorstop with a healthy helping of precocity to unleash on his bachelor life. But wouldn’t you know it that this little girl manages to show Joe the pleasures of family life and even the virtues of teamwork, but hopefully this lesson wasn’t too late for Joe to realize the value of his teammates in the Big Championship Game (in caps, incidentally, because I believe this is the official name of the game being played at the end of the movie)!


“You’re a fool.  Wittgenstein never topped The Tractatus!  Fuck Philosophical Investigations!”




The Lowdown

The Game Plan comes at an interesting impasse in Dwayne Johnson’s career. His attempts at becoming the preeminent action star of his time were fruitless endeavors (despite the bulk of his work in these roles being solid if unspectacular), so he’s taking a different tack this time out and perhaps for the long haul now, taking turns in children-friendly material (this, coupled with the upcoming Race to Witch Mountain and Tooth Fairy roles) and trying to broaden his fanbase by quite a large margin. Based on the surprise financial success of this picture (nearly 91 million domestic), it would seem that he’s finally found his niche and the days of Dwayne ‘Face Stomper’ are going to be replaced with Dwayne ‘Heart Warmer’.  


“Middle America, give us your money!”


The modern action film’s loss is Disney’s gain though, as Johnson continues to bring endless charisma (I believe someone on the Onion staff nailed it when they said that ‘it looks like Johnson has never had an unsure moment in his life’) and likeability to a genre that is seemingly built for it. And while The Game Plan is a trifle of a picture, more than a little bit cloying and mind-fuckingly stupid at many points, it gets by mostly on the charm of his lead performance and his ability to carry a picture is no longer in question* if it ever was before. 


The cast and crew didn’t appreciate Dwayne’s Southland Tales: Director’s Cut parting gift.

One of the biggest problems with the majority of the Mouse House’s recent live-action output is that they’re utilizing their in-house Disney Channel kids show regulars in a lot of the roles, and if you’ve ever been so unlucky as to have come across this particular programming**, you see the problem here. These child actors seem to have two different gears; precocious and trying to sell me yogurt during a Saturday morning cartoon commercial, and they toggle between these intermittently. Every emotional beat that comes from these little black holes feels completely false and unearned, leaving much to be desired whenever a film like this tries to go for your heartstrings. Johnson is doing what he can here to elevate the material and make the emotional scenes resonate, but he’s working with performers with less range than he did back when he was wrestling men who dressed like this:

It also hurts the film that it suffers from severe gaps in logic meant to further along the plot. For instance, the main character being told he has to contribute to his daughter’s ballet class somehow leads to him being the star performer and focal point of their cumulative performance. After which they give him a football themed bouquet. Also, the agent character is one of those ridiculous moustache-twirling villains, who exists only to complicate the plot to make the movie pad out its already overlong 110 minute runtime. Any agent who can’t spin a cold football player becoming a responsible dad into human relations gold strains credulity. However, as stated earlier this is nothing more than a display of Dwayne Johnson’s supreme likability and ability to carry a movie. And if it took something as generic as this to finally prove he’s got the goods to audiences, then so be it. Hopefully he doesn’t stick solely to family-safe material, as I think he could do some damage in just about any genre he wanted to if he was paired with the right people, but this is as good a start as any. It’s really a trifle of a movie, but Dwayne Johnson gives a yeoman’s performance to carry it into the realm of watchability. Slightest of slight recommendation.


“A run so nice, you just wanna take a bite out of its ass!”
“What was that?”
“A run so nice, you’re glad they sat on the pass.”



The Package

The cover art gets the central conceit across; Dwayne Johnson is flustered by this injection of femininity into his testosterone-fueled bachelor lifestyle. Also, there’s a pet.  And it wears a tiara.  It should come as no surprise that the video and audio are rock solid, it’s a Disney release, this should be expected of them quite frankly. As for extras, they’re all kid friendly, which makes sense, as this shouldn’t really garner an adult audience in the way that Pixar movies do, so no need to make with the adult-placating extras. You get a blooper reel, low on bloopers, hosted by Marv Albert (be sure to tell your kids about his dropped felony sodomy charges!) as well as a handful of incidental deleted scenes. You also get some interactive DVD game-stuff for the kids, a featurette and a couple of ESPN hosted features, one a faux biography of the Joe Kingston character and the other showing Rock getting into game shape for the role. All kid friendly, all lacking much in the way of substance. 

 


Nothing worse than an Atlantean bukkake party.


6.1 out of 10

*Unless I’m completely off and fans of The Closer came out in droves to support Sedgwick’s supporting turn.
**Gives your weiner Bells Palsy.