The Game Plan

by Lisa Perkis, staff writer
The Game Plan
(2007) | 110 min. | PG | Reviewed by Lisa Perkis
Cover Art
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Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio 4 stars Video 4 stars
Goodies 2 stars Interface 3 stars
Movie 3 stars Value 3 stars


  • Theatrical Release: September 28, 2007
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen or 2.35.1 Fullscreen Edition or Blue Ray Disc
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Suggested Retail Price: DVD $29.99 Blue Ray $34.99

The Movie

Joe Kingman (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is a pro football superstar who unexpectedly finds himself caring for the daughter (Madison Pettis) he never knew he had while her mother is away on business. For the next month, Joe is suddenly saddled with parental responsibilities like homework and ballet class while trying to lead his team to a championship season. As he gets to know his daughter he learns how to be a better quarterback, teammate and human being. Cue heartwarming music.

Photo Disney Enterprises Inc

Most critics panned the movie when it first came out (including MP's own Alex Stroup in his September 28, 2007 review). Audiences generally ignored critics and the movie went on to make a boatload of money, and I'm assuming it will be a great success on DVD. Movie critics are obviously not the main audience for this film—the voracious little Disney Channel consumers are, and they ate up The Game Plan with a spoon.

One of the smartest marketing moves I've ever seen was to have Johnson guest star (as himself) in both Hannah Montana and Cory in the House TV episodes prior to The Game Plan releasing in theaters. Most Disney Channel kids were not familiar with Johnson until he did his guest appearances, and he came off as a very likable, large guy who could do cheesy sitcom comedy extremely well. Madison Pettis was already a household name with her role as Sophie on Cory in the House. She is as cute as a button and holds her own against experienced supporting actors such as Kyra Sedgwick (Kingman's agent) and Gordon Clapp (Kingman's coach). By the time The Game Plan was released, every kid between the ages of 6 and 13 wanted to see the movie—older kids too, though of course they wouldn't admit it out loud.

Is it a good film? Not particularly, but if you sit and watch the Disney Channel with your kids, you won't mind watching 110 minutes of The Game Plan.

The Goodies

Drafting The Game Plan

This is a pretty complete featurette on how The Game Plan came to exist; with footage of all of the leading characters and director Andy Fickman. Johnson suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon injury during pre-filming football practice and the producers had to decide if they could continue with the movie if their star, who was supposed to be a star athlete, could not run football plays or even run very fast. They decided to use Johnson's personal stunt double (and cousin) Tanoai Reed—currently appearing as "Toa" on NBC's American Gladiators—for the game sequences and showed how they integrated them into the film. The result is seamless, and most viewers would never have realized Johnson had a double without this featurette.

Photo Disney Enterprises Inc

ESPN's SportsCenter

  • ESPN's SportsCenter DVD/Blueray Exclusive: The King in Search of a Ring
  • ESPN's SportsCenter: The Rock Learns to Play QB

I don't think a whole lot of kids will be interested in clicking the ESPN extras for the movie, but I suspect Disney wanted to make an attempt at hooking the grown-ups into spending some time with The Rock while he interacts with ESPN hosts and commentators. Putting emphasis on the ?real" sports aspect of the movie is not that relevant for The Game Plan's main audience (girls between 8 and 12 years of age) but I'm sure it made everyone involved feel manlier.

Bloopers with Marv Albert

This is a highly processed, humorless gag reel. Maybe if I were a Marv Albert fan I would get it—but if I don't get it, the target audience sure isn't going to get it. Just play a reel of people getting hit in the groin with a football—kids laugh. End of story.

Deleted Scenes

Director Andy Fickman introduces each scene and explains why it had to be cut from the film. Generally, he loved each and every scene, but they didn't move the story forward fast enough. Most of them are just extensions of cut scenes already in the movie.

Audio, Video and Interface

The interface is spread out over Joe Kingman's apartment with some very clever designs. An Easter Egg is included in the form of Kingman's remote which unlocks a few more special features. Unfortunately, it's very hard to navigate and figure out what the remote control is supposed to do, besides change the lighting and mood music of the virtual apartment where the menu is located. There is a bonus feature (and I use that term loosely in this case) on the remote, ?Peyton's Makeover Madness" which allows you to bedazzle items in Kingman's virtual apartment, accompanied by audio clips of Madison Pettis and soundtrack clips from the movie. This is also difficult to navigate and it's hard to get back to the main menu once you get tired of putting rhinestones on picture frames, which is pretty darn fast.

Photo Disney Enterprises Inc

The DVD is presented in either 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen or 2.35.1 Fullscreen. The widescreen edition I reviewed looked crisp and clean and everything a DVD just off a theatrical release should look like. The sound is Dolby Digital 5.1 and is excellent as well.

The Final Evaluation

Did I love The Game Plan? No, but I found it watchable and my kids enjoyed it. Despite bonus features which are not aimed at the correct audience and the dreadful setup of "Peyton's Makeover Madness," The Game Plan will please most kids who like the Disney Channel, and will not drive the parents who sit through it with their children insane.