The Game Plan

 
(i)

 

The Rock scores in cute (if predictable) comedy.
  • Review Date: January 21, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 115 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Peyton runs away from home and lies to Karen and Joe. Stella schemes to use Peyton for publicity. Joe forgets Peyton in a club. Joe is initially selfish but eventually learns to share and think of others first -- a great lesson for kids.

Violence & scariness

Lots of football-related roughness, including sacks, tackles, and close-up shots of Joe being taken down. Joe breaks a rib and hurts his shoulder. Joe slaps another player and accidentally bumps into dancers, knocking them down and dropping others.

Sexy stuff

Stella kisses a man when her team wins. Joe spends many scenes shirtless and lifting weights.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Lots of brands and products are visible or mentioned in the film, including Chanel, ESPN, Cold Stone Creamery, Jell-O, iPods, the Bedazzler, BlackBerry, Dunkin Donuts, Nike, Dasani water, a Sidekick cell phone, and Cingular wireless. And, of course, shots of the Disney Channel and popular Disney shows like Hannah Montana are featured.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink at a party, but they don't appear drunk. Peyton shows she knows what a margarita is.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this cute family comedy features football violence and pratfalls. Lots of people, including young girls, fall and only get minor injuries, and a parent's death is addressed. Peyton runs away to find her father and ends up in some very mildly perilous situations (being left alone at a club, etc.). It's worth noting that although the film makes fun of the insane commercialism of football, it also mentions more than a dozen products, and plugs the Disney Channel and Elvis movies.

What's the story?

NFL star Joe Kingman (Dwayne \"The Rock\" Johnson) thinks a lot of himself. He calls himself \"the king,\" proudly displays his collection of trophies, and works hard to make sure everyone else loves him, too. He's also on the verge of having the biggest year in his career. As quarterback for the (fictional) Boston Rebels, he could take his team all the way to the championships this year. But when adorably doe-eyed and curly-haired Peyton (Madison Pettis) shows up at Joe's door announcing she's his daughter, Joe is thrust into a new role -- fatherhood. For a month, he has to figure out how to be a dad, prepare for the play-offs, and defend his way of life. But when Peyton gets seriously sick and returns home, can Joe go back to his playboy life? Does he even want to?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

What Disney always does well -- and what it does well here again -- is to create a world of safe adults in which kids can have their adventures. Peyton may have snuck away from home, but she's surrounded by mythic football players -- giant, harmless teddy bears whose worst qualities is their penchant for playing practical jokes on each other. The other thing Disney does perfectly in The Game Plan is squeeze every last bit of cute from every scene. The Rock clearly has fun with all of his character's funny faces, funny voices, and tantrums -- and so does the audience. There's so much that's genuinely adorable in this film that it's easy to overlook small problems like the predictable storyline and Pettis' limited acting abilities.

What's harder to forgive is the frequent product placement. The Game Plan pokes fun at athletes who all but plaster brands on their jerseys, but then it manages to showcase more than a dozen products. And then there's the nearly two-hour running time, which may make young kids a little fidgety. Still, this is a film with a great message. Joe learns to share -- share success, share his house, share his heart. And what child doesn't need to learn that lesson?

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why kids want to see this movie -- because of the story, or because of Disney's marketing campaign? What usually makes you want to see a movie? Families can also discuss the importance of telling the truth and being generous. Why does Joe feel differently about his game after spending time with Peyton? And, parents, remind kids about why they need to stay with safe adults and not run off on their own, as Peyton does.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 27, 2007
DVD release date:January 22, 2008
Cast:Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Pettis
Director:Andy Fickman
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Run time:115 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild thematic elements.

This review of The Game Plan was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written byDoll June 21, 2010
 

Whose my Daddy?

The whole movie is based on the fact that the main character didn't know he had a kid. How do I explain that? And why should I have to? In general, I was disappointed and the children were confused.
Adult Written byjdmomto3 April 9, 2008
 

FINALLY! A movie with no inappropriate scenarios.

At last somebody has produced a movie that doesn't act as though a child resulting from premarital sex is just another little hiccup along life's highway. Rock's daughter, about whom he knows nothing, appears unexpectedly, but is the product of a previous MARRIAGE. Hooray! Now I don't have to suddenly explain how this can happen, when the parent has never been married before (several PG rated films released in recent years have unexpectedly included this scenario, as if children will just overlook this little detail. They don't! They want to know just how this can happen, when they have been taught that children come after a couple MARRIES. And any film that presents it as otherwise should be rated PG-13.). Hollywood is attempting to convince our children that marriage is a not-really-necessary little detail, and I, for one, mightily resent it. So this movie, full of positive, appropriate influences, is very refreshing and thoroughly entertaining, with no uncomfortable moments when inappropriate themes are simply plopped down in the middle when it is rated as though it hasn't any. We need to demand that more movies like this are produced! This one's a keeper!
Kid, 8 years old June 23, 2009
 

Love it

Me and my mom absolutely Love this movie. Its so nice.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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