½*/**** Image A Sound A Extras B-
starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Kyra Sedgwick, Morris Chestnut, Roselyn Sanchez
screenplay by Nichole Millard & Kathryn Price
directed by Andy Fickman
by Bill Chambers Maudlin trash, The Game Plan makes The Pacifier--one of the prototypes for this slop--look like No Country for Old Men. Again we have a beefcake bachelor (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) in a macho profession (football) learning to stop worrying and love the Devil's spawn. The Rock plays star quarterback Joe "The King" Kingman, whose cushy, Elvis-accessorized lifestyle is interrupted by the sudden appearance of a little girl claiming to be his long lost daughter. Named Peyton (not after Peyton Manning or Walter Payton, as a leatherhead would hope, but Nobel Prize-winning M.D. Peyton Rous--an early herald of her precocious pretentiousness), she invites herself to stay for a month while her mother ostensibly does philanthropic work in Africa. In the meantime, Mother or some facsimile is fed the lie that Peyton is away at ballet camp (in January?! The film opens on New Year's Eve), and Joe becomes a pawn in maintaining this illusion by striking a Faustian bargain with Mater Suspiriorium, er, Monique Vasquez (Roselyn Sanchez), the compulsory love interest and gatekeeper of the local prestigious dance academy. (The Game Plan takes place in a Boston so generic it may as well be Metropolis.) Ingratiating herself with Joe's clownish team-mates (no "Playmakers"-style conflicts for these guys), if not his pragmatic--and flatulent!--agent (Kyra Sedgwick, of all people), Peyton ultimately, predictably, succeeds in her kamikaze campaign to be crowned "the best thing that ever happened" to Joe.