A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Stella kisses a man when her team wins. Joe spends many scenes shirtless and lifting weights.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Game Plan is a cute family comedy that 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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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?
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.