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  The Game Plan

Starring: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Madison Pettis, Kyra Sedgwick

Directed by: Andy Fickman

Produced by: Mark Ciardi, Gordon Gray

Written by: Audrey Wells (screenplay & story), Kathryn Price & Nichole Millard (story)

Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures


     It is rather amazing that the screenwriters of The Game Plan, a movie so hopelessly derivative that even the youngest of viewers will greet it with indifference, didn’t fall asleep out of sheer boredom when writing the script. Watching the film, I never forgot the fact that it was the calculated product of a greedy film-studio, making it nearly impossible to immerse myself in. Of course, this difficulty didn’t exactly come as a surprise: I didn’t like the picture when it was called The Pacifier, Are We There Yet?, Daddy Day Care, or Big Daddy, either. What will it take for clichéd, worthless works like The Game Plan to stop ravaging American multiplexes? The Movie Industry has showcased its ability to successfully put out entertaining, challenging family films numerous times in the past; there simply isn’t any reason for releases like this one to exist. The Game Plan may not be incredibly offensive content-wise but, artistically, it proves to be an assault on the moviegoer’s senses.


     It seems only fitting that the film was directed by Hollywood Hack Andy Fickman, who made a name for himself with the grotesque Amanda Bynes-vehicle She’s the Man. Under Fickman’s guidance, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays Joe Kingman, a professional quarterback for the Boston Rebels (apparently, Disney was too frugal to acquire the rights to place him on a real NFL team). Kingman is a well-liked and sociable player, thoroughly enjoying living a single life and doing well in his career… that is, until a little girl named Peyton (Madison Pettis) appears at his apartment doorstep, claiming to be his daughter. Peyton’s suggestion turns out to be true, despite her newfound long-lost dad’s disbelief. Peyton declares that her mother has left on a trip to Africa and that she will need to stay with her father for a month. Kingman, predictably, has a hard time adjusting to fulfill the various obstacles and requirements of parenthood.


     The Game Plan’s story is obviously conventional, but this aspect of the film isn’t necessarily what makes it such a rotten experience at The Movies. The real problem here is that screenwriters Nichole Millard and Kathryn Price don’t provide the unoriginal material anything even moderately fresh to latch onto. The duo noticeably wrote the easiest, most generic script that they could possibly muster. Lots of films are driven by conventional stories, but many are able to overcome their tired cores and distinguish themselves by being inventive with their characters, visuals, dialogue, et cetera. Millard and Price make no effort to instill any of such qualities in this movie, crafting nearly every layer of its existence in a seemingly robotic fashion.


     The same lack of passion for the picture displayed by Miller and Price’s screenplay is embodied by the work of nearly everyone else involved in its making. The usually-charismatic Johnson appears in the lead-role only to cash a hefty paycheck, Pettis establishes herself as a just-average child-actor, and director Fickman constantly cuts right on-cue to cheap montages and sappy “emotional”-moments. This is all topped off by a cloying “twist”-climax that is so expected that it practically invites viewers to toss popcorn at the screen out of their frustration in its heavy-handed obviousness. The Game Plan is a stale cinematic exercise in unimaginativeness, through and through.


-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 9.27.2007

Screened on: 9.22.2007 at the Krikorian Vista Metroplex 15 in Vista, CA.


The Game Plan is rated PG and runs 110 minutes.

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