The Game Plan

You have to give him credit. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson ("Gridiron Gang" and "The Mummy Returns") just does NOT give up. He has been working steadily for over ten years and he seems to have his stuff together. Obviously he knows how to act (despite a Razzies nomination for his role in "Doom"). He was, after all, a professional wrestler after an injury sidelined him from pro football. (Yeah, I Googled him.) The upshot is, he seems to be trying to teach some lessons in this movie and I was curious about him...

The preview audience was littered (...smile...) with rug rats and it was clear why the parents brought them. The movie opens with our hero clearly on top of the world. He is a football hero, sitting on the brink of "The Big One" in which his team will finally bring home a long-coveted victory. He dates super models, drives a Lamborghini, throws huge parties in his stunning penthouse apartment, which is generously decorated with huge portraits of himself and shelves of his countless trophies. He is self-centered, egotistical, wealthy and absolutely delighted with his life. His favorite pastime is to lounge in his fabulous home with his ugly, ugly bulldog "Spike," and watch his favorite victories...with himself as the star, naturally.

So here comes the glitch, in the form of an seven-year-old girl claiming to be a daughter he didn't know he had, from a long-defunct marriage. The girl, played by Madison Pettis, teeters on the brink of being a little too precocious, but she's cute, funny, scheming and very sure of herself... sort of a chip off the old block.

Kyra Sedgwick ("Something the Lord Made" and "The Woodsman") is Joe's agent who has lined up a multi-million dollar endorsement for him after they win "The Big One." She is NOT happy to see a domestic side emerging in her cash cow. (Tiny spoiler, you might be interested to know that Dwayne declined a multi-million dollar endorsement for Dunkin Donuts a few years ago.)

Obviously this is a relationship movie in which Johnson never hesitates to make himself the goat in one humiliating scene after another. Seeing all 6'4" of him squeezed into a ballet leotard is (almost) worth the price of admission. He sings, he dances, he has a blender spray him in the face. This movie is a cliché and as I have said before, clichés become clichés because they connect emotionally with large groups of people. Thursday's audience was no exception.

His message is a nice one and the rug rats seemed to respond. Worse things could happen...