The Game Plan is the latest movie of pro-wrestler turned actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, this one put out by Walt Disney Pictures. This is Disney's latest attempt to take rough 'n tough action film bad asses and cast them in humbling roles. Remember The Pacifier? First it was Vin Diesel singing a lullaby, now it's The Rock in a ballet. Eh, he's had less macho roles before. Remember his gay bodyguard character in Be Cool? That's not a knock either, he was absolutely FABULOUS in that movie. Anyway, since I'm such a mark for The Rock, I had to see this.
I used a gift certificate to pay for my ticket... it's been years since I actually used cash to for one. Even though The Game Plan was #1 in the box office the previous weekend, the theater was empty except for a father and son who came in just as the open credits started. This movie review outlines most of the movie, so don't read any further if you plan on watching it soon.
The Scorpion King is now Joe Kingman, a star football player for a fictional team called The Boston Rebels. He has state-of-the-art furnishings for his apartment, a trophy girlfriend, million dollar endorsements, and the love of the fans. One thing he appears to be lacking, a notion reinforced by one of his married with children teammates, is a stable companion. Evidently, his girlfriend seems to enjoy going on extended trips to places like Paris. All this changes one day when the doorman for the apartment complex calls Joe to inform him that a cute girl wishes to see him. Naturally Joe tells him to send her up. When he opens the door, he looks down to see a kid named Peyton who claims to be his daughter. Shocked, Kingman denies having a child until he remembers a romantic interlude he had with an old flame right before breaking up with her. Peyton claims that her mother is in Africa doing charity work and sent her to meet her estranged father with the intention of him playing the part of babysitter.
Totally unprepared for the responsibility of parenthood (that's right folks, The Rock "doesn't know his role"), Kingman does everything from trying out a babysitter to enrolling her in ballet class. The teacher of the ballet school, a Puerto Rican doll named Monique, is unimpressed with Kingman's fame and insists that he take an active role in an upcoming performance. He reluctantly goes along with it and discovers that the training regimine of the petite and nimble ballerinas is enough to reduce Kingman into an aching, sweaty lump. As time goes on, Monique becomes more and more enamored with Joe's commitment to his daughter. Good thing too, because Joe's other flame doesn't seem particularly thrilled with the revelation of a secret daughter.
While at a restaurant, Peyton has an allergic reaction to nuts, causing Kingman to rush her to the hospital on foot, as heavy traffic conditions would have made waiting for an ambulance too time consuming. While she recuperates, a woman named Karen shows up claiming to be Peyton's guardian, and she's none too happy with some of Kingman's heavily publicized parenting mistakes, as well as the current hospital situation. It appears that Peyton's mother died in a car accident six months earlier, and appointed her sister to look after her daughter. It turns out that Karen was the one who went to Africa and sent Peyton to stay at a local ballet academy. However, Peyton took it upon herself to divert her cab to drop her off with her father instead so she could get to know him. With Peyton feeling better, Karen returns home with her.
The finale of the movie involves the Boston Rebels in a championship game, giving Kingman the chance to win something that's eluded him his entire career, and that's the championship ring. But Joe's heart isn't into it now that his daughter is no longer with him. Not only does he perform poorly, but a rough tackle appears to be enough to take him out of the game. Watching the game on television, Karen decides that Peyton belongs with her father after all, and takes her to the stadium to give him the confidence boost that he needs. Kingman forces himself not only back onto the field, but with the rigor that made him the most acclaimed star in the sport. The Boston Rebels do win the game in the end, but Kingman wins something even more important, and that's a family.
This movie must have been custom made for The People's Champion. Rock is a former football star with college team the Miami Hurricanes. The Joe Kingman character is also shown to be a major Elvis fan, much like The Rock. Those of you who are fans of both Elvis and Rock's melodic vocal chords should be happy that he sings a little bit of The King in this movie, even strumming a guitar. And much like his days back in World Wresting Entertainment, Rock and Kingman are the biggest stars for their respective industries. When all is said and done, this Disney family film exhibits the value of family and teamwork. Only go to this movie if you're ready to learn life lessons.
Overall, a great film. And unless I missed it... there was no People's Eyebrow anywhere in this film. So if I was grading it, I'd take off a point.
And that's just the way it is.