Director: Andy Fickman
Amusing if predictable Disney film in the tradition of the Vin Diesel starrer The Pacifier which finds Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as selfish and arrogant NFL quarterback Joe Kingman, who gets a wake up call when an adorable eight year old girl knocks on his door and announces that she’s his long-lost daughter from his previous marriage. Obviously worried that a young estranged child he’d never known about will damage his celebrity and have a traumatic effect on his popularity on ESPN and with the ladies, given his slogan of “number one on the field and number one in your hearts,” Kingman and his agent Stella Peck (a cutthroat Cruella Kyra Sedgwick) try to embrace his newfound fatherhood hoping it will endear him even more to fans. Quickly, the narcissistic Kingman begins to melt like butter despite some of the ups and downs of his new role after daughter Peyton (winning newcomer Madison Pettis) proceeds to bedazzle his MVP football and dress his dog in a tutu, as the father and daughter bond. Of course, no Disney film is complete without a love interest, so Kingman becomes attracted to Peyton’s beautiful headstrong ballet teacher Monique Vasquez (Roselyn Sanchez) who shockingly has no idea who the athlete is when they first meet and then manages to put Kingman in his place when she objects to his shortcomings.
Even though the posters and advertising make The Game Plan all about The Rock (and indeed this is to be his last movie where he’s billed as such) and he does an admirable job of poking fun at his stereotype, the real star of the movie is young Madison Pettis whose irresistible smile and charm is sure to make her a young star that will be seen in movies to come (in the tradition of Dakota Fanning and Abigail Breslin). Of course, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before and it's been done better in other Disney fare and although I’m an Elvis fan, all of the references seemed gimmicky and forced, it was refreshing to see a movie that had a man in a traditionally chauvinistic career be given a young daughter to take care of as opposed to a son which make it a nice choice in the under-populated kids genre of family films for fathers and daughters.