Movie Review: The Game Plan (2007)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2007 family comedy staring Dwayne Johnson and Madison Pettis.

Synopsis: MVP quarterback Joe Kingman is enjoying all the benefits of being a professional athlete, including fame, fortune, women and fancy cars. However, on the eve of his first professional championship, Kingman's world is flipped upside down when 8-year-old Peyton, the daughter he didn't know existed, shows up at his door.

Review

I (as is usually the case) was up much earlier than the rest of my family yesterday and, because of that, decided to find a movie to watch while waiting for the rest of them to get out of bed. I had seen this particular movie before. But, when I came across it on one of our movie channels, I decided to take the time to watch it again.

I'm normally not a big fan of family films, especially family comedies, because they tend to be all the same. This movie, however, is one that I would definitely consider an exception to that because I enjoy watching it every time I have a chance to.

One of the things I really like about this movie is the way Kingman (Johnson) adapts so quickly to fatherhood. As a father of two daughters, I find I'm often offended by the way dads are portrayed in movies, television shows and commercials, usually completely inept until they receive outside help. This particular movie, however, surprisingly challenges that.

Sure, Kingman starts out that way. But, I'm willing to overlook that because of the way he was completely blindsided by fatherhood. Other than a couple parenting flubs (which could have happened to a mom too), he quickly takes charge after the initial shock and does an excellent job raising his daughter without having the stereotypical burnt meals and other gender-specific jokes. The fact she also ends up with several extra dad figures from Kingman's football team was a nice touch too.

I think another thing that really helps this film is the casting. While not necessarily a bad guy, Johnson had to portray Kingman in a way that made him seem arrogant and self centered enough to make his transformation to fatherhood a surprise. He did just that and brought just enough charm to the character to make him easy to like even in his worst moments.

The one that really surprises me in this movie though is Pettis and her portrayal of Kingman's daughter. I'm normally not into the whole cute kid thing when it comes to films. But, she does an awesome job of bringing just the right level of cuteness without reaching a point where she stops being funny and gives her character just enough personality to match up to Johnson's Kingman. This made their scenes together both funny and believable, something that just doesn't happen in every movie from this genre.

Final Opinion

This is a film that has a great plot and some talented actors. As a result, it's a funny film that is enjoyable even if you don't normally care for family movies.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 01/22/2017, StevenHelmer
 
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