Released: September 28
Reviewed: October 1
When football superstar quarterback Joe Kingman (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), the most eligible bachelor in the NFL, finds Peyton (Madison Pettis) at his door claiming to be his daughter, it’s clear the game has changed. At the most important time of the season and his career, Joe knows this is a distraction and calls his non maternal agent, Stella Peck (Kyra Sedgwick). Stuck with Peyton for a month before her mother, his ex wife, comes back from a humanitarian trip to Africa, Joe must learn how to balance football, parties, appearances and now a child. Peyton isn’t your average 8 year old; she’s observant, witty and on her road to an Oscar for her timely tears and sick spells. Joe’s life goes from carefree to cumbersome with ballet classes, a bejeweler and bedtime stories. Forced to be an active parent at Peyton’s ballet school, Joe begins to enjoy fatherhood and recognize that Peyton is the best thing to ever happen to him. Known to be overly serious, selfish and self centered, everyone begins to notice changes in Joe specifically a teammate Travis Sanders (Morris Chestnut), a proud parent himself, who’s seen and felt Joe’s selfishness on and off the field many times. It isn’t until Peyton has to be rushed to the hospital that Joe realizes his love for Peyton is undying but also learns the tragic secret that she’s been keeping. With Peyton came responsibility, strained social life and vulnerability but also a much needed and humbling lesson for Joe; life isn’t always about fame and fortune but family and friends as well.
America just can’t seem to get enough of the baby left on the doorstep storyline, and Disney only heightens that notion with its new film The Game Plan. I must admit that this film is a crowd pleaser. From the candid sarcasm of Madison Pettis to Monique Vasquez Spanish outbursts to Kyra Sedgwick’s gas, this movie is full of laughs. Director Andy Fickman (She’s The Man) does an excellent job showing the transformation of a serial bachelor to a doting father. - ZS