New York Times - 09/28/2007
"[T]he affable Mr. Johnson is committed to every moment....[W]ith some lively sequences, including an endearing montage that cuts between ballet and football practice..."
Sight and Sound - 04/01/2008
"With the bulk of the humour rooted in slapstick, Johnson proves an adept physical comedian..."
A film that marks Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's first leading role in a family-friendly comedy, THE GAME PLAN finds the former pro wrestler starring as Joe Kingman, a popular NFL quarterback happily entrenched in a carefree single lifestyle. Kingman's world is turned upside-down, however, when a young girl named Peyton Kelly (Madison Pettis) appears from out of the blue, claiming to be his daughter from a brief former marriage. Reluctantly, Kingman must learn how to shake his self-absorption and become a father, leading to hijinks that involve the inevitable clash of macho-man and little-girl cultures.
Directed by Andy Fickman (SHE'S THE MAN), this likable Disney movie is hoisted up by the muscular Johnson, who finally gets a chance to showcase his winking charm and impressive comic timing at length. Although Johnson is no stranger to portraying football players (see 2006's GRIDIRON GANG), THE GAME PLAN is far lighter fare than his previous films, opening up at another door in his intriguing WWE-to-Hollywood career. The comedy also features an excellent supporting cast, most notably, the precocious Pettis, along with Morris Chestnut, who plays Kingman's thoughtful teammate Travis Sanders, and Kyra Sedgwick, on leave from her hard-hitting role in THE CLOSER TV show as Kingman's workaholic agent. Nodding to Disney live-action comedies of yore while conveying a 21st-century sheen, THE GAME PLAN hits all of its intended goals, making it one of 2007's most enjoyable family movies.
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