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Walt Disney Home Video presents

The Game Plan (2007)

“Stupid is a mean word.”- Madison Pettis (Peyton Kelly)

Stars: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Other Stars: Kyra Sedgwick, Morris Chestnut, Roselyn Sanchez, Madison Pettis, Boomer esiason, Marv Albert, Jim Gray
Director: Andy Fickman

MPAA Rating: PG for (some mild thematic elements)
Run Time: 01h:50m:14s
Release Date: 2008-01-22
Genre: family

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Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B-A-B B-

 

DVD Review

If you think about it, nearly every bodybuilder/wrestler turned actor feels the urge to do a family film at some point in there career. Arnold was a Kindergarten Cop, Vin Diesel tackled family life in The Pacifier, and now Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson finds a daughter at his doorstep in The Game Plan. This box office hit is sure to find an even bigger audience and make The Rock even more of a household name now that it’s available on a great DVD from Disney Home Video.

Joe Kingman (The Rock) is a football superstar who has it all, a plush penthouse, the women of his choice, and his beloved bulldog, Spike. Still, he’s missing that special someone that everyone longs for in life. Then, out of the blue, a little girl named Peyton (Madison Pettis) shows up at his door, claiming to be his daughter. Joe doesn’t know what to do with her, but he takes her in and shows him what the life of a pro football player is all about. What Joe didn’t expect to discover is that what Payton has to show him will mean more than he ever imagined.

When Disney practically invented the concept of the “family film,” this is exactly what they had in mind. There’s something for everyone here, with the little girl’s cuteness appealing to the kids, the long-lost daughter storyline making tissue-manufacturers happy, with The Rock and numerous appearances by ESPN SportsCenter personalities keeping dads interested. However, family-oriented film buffs looking for some substance to their movies (a rare feat, accomplished most-recently by Bridge to Terabithia) won’t find that here. The movie wears its heart-string-tugging intentions on its sleeve, riding an inspirational music score from the moment Peyton meets Joe to the football-filled finale.

Despite this being mostly a Disney family film, there’s still plenty of room, apparently, for sports movie clichés, from the over-the-top in-game footage, to cameos by real sportscasters (in this case, Boomer Esiason and Marv Albert). Also, if you stay tuned for the end credits, you’ll get to see Jim Gray singing and (kind of) dancing along with the rest of the cast to an Elvis song. Still, the main focus stays on the unprepared sports star dad storyline, leaving us with little doubt about what’s going to happen from scene to scene. The Rock does a solid job carrying the film, though, emoting just enough during the sappy, yet heartfelt sequences, and refraining from going too far when he’s asked to play the mega-egotistical side of his character.

This is predictable fluff, but it’s difficult to argue that there’s some real heart behind the proceedings. Director Andy Fickman makes some of the same stylistic choices he exhibited in She’s the Man, keeping things fast-paced, and almost avoiding any and all chances for pacing lulls. He does his best to broaden the story’s appeal while remaining true to its intentions, when far too often, family films are too soft for their own good. Plus, you can’t completely discount a movie that shows footage from a Boston Celtics game, especially when it involves the great Paul Pierce draining a game-winning jumper.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: This 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is extremely pleasing, exhibiting sharp, detailed images at all times. The color scheme is bright and vivid, with deep blacks and consistent shadow levels. A bit of softness appears a couple of times, and there’s the smallest amount of grain, but, overall, this is a nearly flawless transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A-
 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Spanish, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is nothing spectacular, but it does the job for this type of material. The rear speakers come to life for the numerous music cues, and there’s some nice, deep bass during some of the bone-crushing football hits. Dialogue is never a problem, as it is always crystal clear.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
8 Other Trailer(s) featuring 101 Dalmatians: Platinum Edition, Wall·e, Enchanted, TinkerBell, Snow Buddies, The Aristocats: Special Edition, Twitches Too, ESPN SportsCenter
9 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Bloopers with Marv Albert
Extras Review: The extras collection begins with nine deleted scenes that include optional intros by director Andy Fickman and run for just over 21 minutes with the intros. These clips aren’t missed from a final cut that’s already too long at nearly two hours.

Next, we get a collection of bloopers that feature legendary sportscaster Marv Albert. This three-minute piece is framed like Albert’s famous “Albert Achievement Awards” segment, during which he introduces he commentates on the cast’s various flubs.

Drafting The Game Plan is a 20-minute making-of piece that’s the epitome of a fluff promotional documentary. We get a blend of cast and crew interviews and on-set footage, but there is some interesting stuff regarding the football aspects of the film.

ESPN’s SportsCenter: The Rock Learns to Play QB is a three-and-a-half-minute clip introduced by Stuart Scott and featuring The Rock being interviewed by Sean Salisbury. This is basically a featurette for the film masquerading as an ESPN segment.

Finally, ESPN’s SportsCenter DVD/Blu-Ray Exclusive: The King in Search of a Ring lasts for five minutes and is an extended version of the ESPN special that we only see a part of during the movie.

Extras Grade: B-
 

Final Comments

One of the biggest and baddest jocks-turned-movie-stars these days is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. His latest vehicle is Disney’s The Game Plan, a family picture that doesn’t mess around while delivering a great way to spend a couple of hours in front of the television. The disc itself benefits from superb audio and video, while including a nice batch of extras for good measure.

Chuck Aliaga 2008-01-22