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The Game Plan (3 stars)

(U) 110min

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The Game Plan

FAMILY/COMEDY

‘Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?’ Although wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson doesn’t get to use his trademark catchphrase in Disney family-values comedy The Game Plan, his charismatic presence turns some fairly unappetising ingredients into a surprisingly palatable dish.

Fusing the world of American football with an analysis of ballet training for pre-teen girls, The Game Plan follows the fortunes of Elvis-obsessed American football superstar quarterback Joe Kingsman. Kingsman finds his estranged eight-year old daughter (Madison Pettis) dumped on his doorstep in the run up to the biggest game of his life. He initially says no to his daughter’s attempts to enlist him in ballet school, but after trial by bubble bath and ballet, Joe learns to wear a tutu with pride, a softening which also helps him on the football field.

Disney is already planning to re-team director Andy Fickman with Johnson for a remake of Return To Witch Mountain, and it’s not hard to see why, as the star’s genial presence is slickly blended with well-choreographed action without ever slipping into slapstick. Overblown and overlong, The Game Plan is undeniably bland and formulaic fare, yet its earnest brand of character comedy for pre-teens pays off in a schmaltzy, yet touching finale.

General release from Fri 7 Mar.

The Game Plan

  • 3 stars
  • 2007
  • US
  • 110 min
  • U
  • Directed by: Andy Fickman
  • Written by: Nichole Millard, Kathryn Price, Audrey Wells
  • Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Madison Pettis, Kyra Sedgwick, Morris Chestnut

'The Game Plan' follows the fortunes of Elvis-obsessed American football superstar quarterback Joe Kingsman (Johnson) and his estranged eight-year old daughter (Pettis) when she enrols him in ballet school. The result is overblown and overlong, bland and formulaic, yet its earnest brand of character comedy for pre-teens…

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