Game Plan, The

The Rock Plays House

Main Cast: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Madison Pettis

Director: Andy Fickman

One could wonder why Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would do another football movie immediately after last year’s Gridiron Gang. But when Disney comes calling, don’t you have to take the call?

(Since to me, he’ll always be The Rock, I’ll call him that the rest of the way.)

The Rock has had an interesting Hollywood career thus far. He hasn’t done that real blockbuster yet, but he’s done parts where he can show off the things that made him a fan favorite in the WWF/WWE. He was able to show off his ability to be an action star with The Scorpion King and Rundown. He showed off his comedic chops in Be Cool in a role that stole a pretty bad movie. With The Game Plan, it’s his chance to star in a family film that will be seen by more eyes than ever, because it’s being marketed as something that everyone can see. It also taps into maybe Rock’s best talents, which are his charm and charisma. It also gives him a chance to be upstaged by child actor Madison Pettis, who plays the 8 year old daughter he (Rock plays Joe Kingman) never knew he had.

For about the first 45 minutes, Rock’s Joe Kingman is such a selfish jerk that the movie stalls completely. It’s sold as a bunch of hi-jinx between new father and daughter, and without that the movie is really boring. But when Pettis shows up, her Peyton Kelly lights up the film and she immediately goes toe to toe with Rock, giving the film a 180 degree turn. Pettis has been seen in the Disney channel show Corey In The House, but this is her first movie role. She’s a sharp one. She plays the smarty pants, far older than her age character so well that if not for Rock’s ability to make the best out of most situations, it would’ve been her movie.

Maybe their best scene together features a guitar, Kingman’s dog Spike, Elvis, and tears. Tell me, dear, are you lonesome tonight?

Kyra Sedgwick and Roselyn Sanchez play supporting roles, with Sedgwick playing Kingman’s sassy agent Stella Peck and Sanchez playing Peyton’s ballet teacher, Monique. Sedgwick is completely annoying, but in a good way. She’s not Jerry McGuire, but she’s definitely trying to show Joe Kingman the money. Sanchez has an odd role as a possible love interest for Kingman, but nothing really materializes. However, for the fourth year in a row, she made my Top Five Women That I Want To Be “Romantically Linked” To If I Was Famous list. Simply hot.

If anyone wondered what happened to the great Morris Chestnut, here’s your answer. Chestnut actually plays the older, respected veteran and the person Joe Kingman looks up to as someone he’d like to be. Okay, maybe it’s just me that wondered where the great Morris Chestnut was. He might’ve been up all night with Patti Labelle.

The steak and potatoes of the movie is the relationship between Kingman and his daughter. Though at first Kingman has issues giving up his star bachelor status, through Peyton, he learns how to grow up, not only in life, but on the football field as well. The story is completely predictable, but it’s exactly what it is supposed to be. Even though I’m biased because I’ve been watching Rock on my television since 1997, it’s my opinion that he could make anything watchable. And little miss Madison Pettis can play this role for a few more years. She reminded me of Hayden Panettiere when she was very young.

The Rock won’t win any awards here. And for half the film, he was a one man show without much help. But when Madison Pettis joins him, the movie starts to move and it finished strong, touching many emotions along the way.

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