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Andy Fickman
The Rock, Madison Pettis, Kyra Sedgwick, Roselyn Sanchez, Morris Chestnut, Hayes MacArthur, Brian J. White, Jamal Duff
Writing Credits:
Nichole Millard (and story), Kathryn Price (and story), Audrey Wells (story)

Joe Kingman had the perfect game plan to win the championship ... but first, he has to tackle one little problem.

In this hilarious and heartwarming family comedy, one of football's toughest players ever takes on his biggest challenge yet - fatherhood! A superstar with an ego bigger than a football field, Joe Kingman (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is getting ready for a run at the big championship game when the 8-year-old daughter he never knew existed shows up at his not-so-family-friendly bachelor pad. As the big game gets closer, he begins to realize the most meaningful win he can achieve is the heart of the one little fan who counts the most.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$22.950 million on 3103 screens.
Domestic Gross
$89.159 million.

Rated PG

Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 1/22/2008

• Deleted Scenes
• Bloopers with Marv Albert
• “Drafting The Game Plan” Featurette
• “The Rock Learns to Play QB” Featurette
• “The King in Search of a Ring” Featurette
• Sneak Peeks


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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The Game Plan (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 15, 2008)

Will audiences ever tire of flicks in which big, tough guys expose their softer, more family-friendly sides? Given the pretty good box office of 2007’s The Game Plan, the answer seems to be "no”. Here Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson follows in the footsteps of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vin Diesel as he tends to a tot.

Johnson plays egotistical, selfish playboy football superstar Joe Kingman. On the path to a championship that’s so far eluded him, he learns that he sired a daughter years earlier. He never knew this until eight-year-old Peyton (Madison Pettis) shows up on his door. Due to an emergency, her mother Sara dumps her on Joe and asks that he watch her for a month. The movie follows Joe’s rough road as he attempts to deal with his newfound role as dad.

Maybe I expect too much from a film aimed at kids. When you’re only about eight or nine – which would seem to be this flick’s target audience – you don’t have the life experience to realize what’s a tired cliché and what’s not. Your average third grader won’t realize that there’s not a single original idea to be found in The Game Plan.

But your average 40-year-old movie critic does comprehend that, and such realization makes Plan tough to watch. Even if the filmmakers know that the target audience won’t mind the relentless string of rehashed gags and concepts, couldn’t they at least try to do something new just for all the poor unfortunate parents in the crowd? Someone has to take all those eight-year-olds to the multiplex and suffer through this flick, so howsabout a little something for them?

Kids probably will delight in the silly antics on display here, but I find it tough to believe too many adults will feel the same. Essentially the first two-thirds of the flick consists of an endless series of banal fish out of water gags. Plan takes illogical stretches simply to create laughs. Would a picky neat freak like Joe have a fat, sloppy dog? Of course not – but fat, sloppy dogs equal instant comedy, I guess, as do muscular tough guys stuck in girly situations.

It’s not just the jokes that feel stale, though. Everything about Plan comes across as tired and uninspired. We can see literally every plot twist or significant moment well before it occurs. When Peyton repeatedly asks Joe “what’s the best thing that ever happened to you?” we know how he’ll answer by the movie’s end. The entire enterprise is one grand exercise in inevitability.

God bless him, though, Johnson nearly makes it entertaining. I think he’s a little too likable for the role, as he doesn’t pull off Joe’s enormous ego particularly well, but he really embraces the role and works awfully hard to entertain. Johnson has definite talent as a comedic actor, and his performance occasionally almost redeems the flick.

Almost, but not quite. From the predictable characters to the annoyingly pretentious kid to the worn-out gags, most aspects of The Game Plan fail to involve the viewer. Johnson does his best to carry the flick, but he can’t make up for the lack of creativity on display.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

The Game Plan appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. I found a lot to like about this transfer.

Only a few issues affected sharpness. Some wide shots could come across as a little soft, but those instances occurred infrequently. The majority of the flick showed nice delineation and definition. I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge enhancement appeared to be absent. Source flaws also failed to show up in this clean presentation.

Plan went with a lively palette and boasted excellent colors. The hues were always bright and dynamic, so they looked very good. Blacks were dark and firm, and shadows seemed clear and smooth. This was a consistently attractive image.

Nothing extraordinary came from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, but the audio seemed satisfying. The football scenes opened up the mix the best, as they used the sides and surrounds in a reasonably satisfying way. Environmental elements also broadened matters fairly well, and music offered nice stereo spread. No part of the track really impressed, but it added some life to the material.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech was concise and natural, with only a smidgen of edginess on a few occasions. Music seemed lively and full, and effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. I thought this was a more than acceptable track for a comedy.

As we shift to the extras, we begin with nine Deleted Scenes. Including intros from director Andy Fickman, these fill a total of 21 minutes and 12 seconds. (They go for 16:11 without the intros.) We find “Joe Actually Loses One” (1:36), “Joe’s Party” (1:12), “Joe’s Special Friends” (0:46), “Practice with Peyton” (0:55), “Peyton’s Sharing Lesson” (2:49), “Can You Catch?” (0:29), “Like Father, Like Daughter” (1:13), “Rebels’ Owner” (0:36) and “Ballet Extended” (6:54).

I don’t think anything worthwhile hit the cutting room floor. Fickman tells us he loves “Sharing Lesson”, but I think it’s even more trite and illogical than most of what we find in the final film. Most of the scenes are redundant and not remotely interesting. Fickman’s intros manage to give us some good notes, though he doesn’t always tell us why he cut the sequences.

For some silliness, we head to Bloopers with Marv Albert. The three-minute and one-second reel offers the standard goofs and giggles. Narration from Albert makes the format a little different but it’s not enough to entertain.

A few featurettes round out the set. Drafting The Game Plan lasts 20 minutes, 17 seconds as it mixes movie clips, shots from the set and interviews. We hear from Fickman, producers Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray, writers Kathryn Price and Nichole Mallard, production designer David Bomba, 2nd unit director/football coordinator Mark Ellis, assistant football coordinator Pat O’Hara, composer Nathan Wang, and actors Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Madison Pettis, Morris Chestnut, Paige Turco, Gordon Clapp, Hayes MacArthur, Roselyn Sanchez, Brian White and Kyra Sedgwick.

We learn a little about the project’s origins, cast and performances, Fickman’s work on the set, and shooting the football and ballet segments. Much of “Drafting” falls into the realm of the fluffy promotional featurette, but the football section actually works pretty well. We get a good look at the creation of that side of things. It’s not enough to sustain an otherwise forgettable 20-minute featurette, however.

The Rock Learns to Play QB goes for three minutes, 33 seconds and features ESPN’s Sean Salisbury as he talks with Johnson and Ellis about the football segments and Johnson’s training to play a quarterback. It’s too short to provide much substance.

Finally, The King In Search of a Ring offers something unusual. The five-minute and three-second piece lets us see all of the ESPN “special” briefly observed in the movie. We hear from a few of the flick’s characters in this appraisal of “Joe Kingman”. It’s a fun extra.

As usual, the disc opens with some ads. We get promos for Blu-Ray discs, 101 Dalmatians, WALL-E, Disney Movie Rewards and Enchanted. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with clips for Tinkerbell, SnowBuddies, The Aristocats, Twitches Too and ESPN’s SportsCenter. No trailer for The Game Plan appears here.

The Game Plan may entertain its young target audience, though its rather long 110-minute running time will probably test their attention spans. Adults will likely be bored with its relentless string of tired jokes and predictable situations. The DVD provides very good picture, perfectly adequate audio, and some minor supplements. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gives us a pretty nice lead performance, but it’s not enough to make this clunker watchable.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.4166 Stars Number of Votes: 12
3 3:
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