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The Game Plan

MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for some mild thematic elements

Reviewed by: Bob Rossiter

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family, Adults, Kids
Comedy, Kids, Family
1 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 21, 2007 (sneak preview in 800 theaters); September 28, 2007 (wide)
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Relevant Issues
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Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kyra Sedgwick, Roselyn Sanchez, Morris Chestnut, Madison Pettis, Gordon Clapp
Director: Andy Fickman
Producer: Mark Ciardi, Gordon Gray
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

“Joe Kingman had the perfect game plan to win the championship… but first, he has to tackle one little problem.”

Ok, I was set up. The weekend “The Game Plan” opened my job took me to a camp in the mountains. The camp’s main purpose is to provide fatherless children with positive father figures in their lives. While the kids attend events with their new found “dads”, their widowed or divorced moms receive encouragement, training and love from women who have been in their place. You combine this trip with my own desire to be a good dad to my kids, and there was no way I was coming out of this movie dry-eyed.

The movie begins by showing us quarterback Joe Kingman (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) who is very full of himself. Joe’s apartment is packed with pictures and football memorabilia about him and his accomplishments. (There are a few Elvis things thrown in for looks.) He is seen as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, but has never quite achieved the championship ring. Football is Joe’s life. He even says as much on an interview with ESPN where he declares, “Football is my life. Beyond that, nothing else matters.”

All is thrown into chaos, however, when an eight year old Peyton Kelly (Madison Pettis) shows up on his doorstep claiming to be the child he never knew he had. It takes a birth certificate with Joe’s name on it to convince him he really does have a daughter.

Peyton has shown up at a very inconvenient time for her dad. It’s January, so Joe is playing in championship games, and he’s also trying to land a multi-million dollar deal with a restaurant chain called Fanny’s Burgers. The mascot-style character for the chain is a pink hippo, which appropriately symbolizes how fat a person might get if they ate there.

At first, Joe tries to ignore his daughter, be a glorified babysitter and at one point even hires a nanny so he doesn’t have to give up his selfish dreams and chase after the championship ring. Peyton refuses to give up, however, hanging onto her dream of having a dad. With the help of her ballet instructor, Monique (Roselyn Sanchez), Peyton is able to soften her dad’s heart so he can become the father he ought to be.

Joe comes a long way through all this. In the beginning he broadcast to the world, “Football is my life,” but in the end when he’s questioned by a sports reporter he says, “There’s nothing I love more than my daughter.” There’s no question about where the movie is headed, but the trip Disney takes you on is well worth the price of admission.

There is one subplot I really hope you don’t miss, and that’s the importance of true friendship. “The Game Plan” shows the picture of a friendship that is “closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Sanders (Morris Chestnut) isn’t just the best receiver for the Boston Rebels, he’s also Joe’s best friend—Joe just doesn’t know it yet. Sanders is a family man and gets no small amount of ribbing about it from Joe. And though he is an excellent receiver who has been open in the end zone time and again, Joe has often opted to run it in for himself to take the glory. When Joe realizes what he’s done to his friend he says thank you, and when Sanders asks what for, Joe replies, “For taking everything I threw at you”—obviously meaning more than a football. To this, Sanders says, “That’s what friends are for.”

There are a few things you may want to discuss with children after the movie. Some characters tell lies and use deception. I didn’t see anyone drinking alcohol, but it was available in the night club scene and at Joe’s apartment. We do see Joe’s muscular build shirtless several times, and one of them is shown close up. Some women’s cleavage is seen along with several cheerleaders, but they are mostly in the background. All in all, “The Game Plan” was done as a family movie, and this includes the language. The only thing I heard that might offend some is the term, “pain in the butt” which occurs once or twice.

There aren’t enough rough and tough football scenes to keep little boys’ attention, but I’d still recommend that families go watch “The Game Plan”. I especially wish dads would take their daughters. But dad, if your heart is as soft as mine, take plenty of tissues, and be ready to find a way to say, “I love you,” to your children.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—I took my 18 and 13 year olds with me to this film. We laughed, LOTS, I cried… It was a very clean film. My 18 noticed the H-word (I did not). There was a bar scene where the Rock is opening his restaurant. He is dancing and there is drinking also some suggestive material that leads you to know the Rock’s single lifestyle with “many” women. There are a lot of good points and funny situations. The movie is very heart felt and entertaining. I would recommend this movie to my friends.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
Tricia Blackwell, age 35
Positive—My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this film! There was no sex, and I don’t remember hearing any swearing. The young girl is a great little actress. There were plenty of very funny parts, sweet, touching parts, and a masterfully done ballet scene. The lesson in the story was learned by both father and daughter, as they learned to put each other first. Super!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
Kristen Kellett, age 46
Positive—This movie will make you laugh and make you cry! It is a very good movie BUT, there is a lot of low top blouses and dresses. I do think that the girls were well UNDER dressed. Also there is a few alcohol scenes and Jo gets a little hot under the collar about his girlfriend. But overall a good movie, just wanted to warn you!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
Melissa Poole, age 33
Positive—Cute, cute movie! Lots of laughs! Lots of fun! Considering all the *duds* we’ve seen recently, this one knocked a homerun outta' the ballpark! Wouldn’t mind seeing again at some point.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
Reva, age 48
Positive—My husband and I took our children 8 and 10. Both kids loved it, my husband I loved it. It was well written and a nice story. I loved the fact that the language was kept undercontrol. Proof you can have a good film without curse words. This is definitely one we will buy when on dvd all of us can watch it and enjoy it as a family.
My Ratings: Good / 5
Kelli, age 33
Positive—I just went to see this movie with my wife and two sons. I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually a good family movie. I didn’t notice any foul language, and there was atleast one Character who let Joe know that there was more to life than partying and running around in a demoralized state. I think it added some moral quality to the movie. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to watch a movie without their hands over their kids’ ears.
My Ratings: Good / 4
Reginald Coaxum, age 32
Positive—I went to this movie with my younger brother (16) and we both had a great time! I first saw the trailer for this film in 2005 and have been rather impatiently waiting for it since; it did not disappoint. There were only a few slightly objectionable parts, including a bar scene and the fact that the little girl was a manipulator, but overall it was just a sweet, adorable film about love and family. And of course, I was surprised and pleased to hear my favorite tune from Christian hip-hop artist TobyMac in the film! I was a little miffed that they put it in the bar scene, and I was sure they’d censor the parts referring to Christ… but no! The whole first verse and chorus could be clearly heard, including the line 'I can’t help but glorify my Adonai', a clearly Christian lyric. Bravo, Disney!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Rachel Davidson, age 19
Positive—This movie was awesome! I loved it!! It was so good!! The filming was great and the message was definitely portrayed that selfishness is never acceptable and only hurts those you care about the most! overall and wonderful movie for the family! …loved it!!
My Ratings: Good / 4½
Shannon T., age 18
Positive—I wanted to watch a movie that did NOT HAVE ANY violence, gore and/or sex. I decided to see what this movie THE GAME PLAN was like, figuring it rated PG and being WALT DISNEY—I’m glad did. Altough there were some things I did not quite care for, but for the most part I liked this movie. This movie shows just how GOD can turn and change anyone and/or anything, in this case anyone, around IF he is allowed to—by using whatever means necessary to accomplish his will and purpose.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Ed B., age 41
Positive—I took my 6 yr. old son, who loves Peyton. I thought it finally gave the fathers credit!! I know a lot of men can be selfish but this dude was in love with himself!!!… Kids have a way of warming your heart. I thought it was right on and the fact that he was “bare chested” a lot, sort of made me a little uncomfortable but I like the way the dance teacher handled him. I think the little girl handled him as well. He was, at least, respctful of her and put blindfolds on when in the locker room. Great movie, will buy when it comes out!!!…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
C. Spoo, age 36
Positive—I loved this movie!!! There was no strong profanity It’s a really funny movie, and totally shows you that sometimes even when you don’t want to, you have to grow up and take responsibility… Awesome Family Film!!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Keely, age 19
Positive—This movie turned out great in the end and I liked the mighty change of heart that the Rock’s character had. It was uplifting. I was not happy with the little girl’s attitude, but I guess you have to show the bad to see the change to good. The thing I would complain about if I could would be how her dishonesty is so easily forgiven and I thought accepted as a good thing at one point. I suggest you see the movie, but discuss her behavior and the fact that it is unacceptable.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
Chris Ransom, age 41
Positive—I bought the movie for my 12 year old we watchedit together. I thought it was absolutley adorable. I didn’t find anything offensive at all! Dwayne was totally believable as the self absorbed dad and the little girl that played Peyton was a cutie pie… yes there were a few lines where she came off as fresh, but considering her situation (wanting to find a father she never knew and losing her mom) I understood.

The previous reviewer who last name was Floyd… really floored me! First of all Dwayne hasn’t wrestled in years! You don’t know where he is in his life spiritually… what happened to forgiveness?? People can and do change. Would you like someone to judge you on decisions you made or jobs you have had or things you did years ago? That goes against Everything we are about as Christians. God is a God of love and forgivness, and we are not to judge others unless we are willing to be judged ourselves. As far as the homosexual reference I won’t comment since I didn’t see anything in the movie that led me to any conclusions.

Anyway… my family really enjoyed this movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Jeannean Lomax, age 47
Neutral—The best scences are in the trailers, unfortunately. My daughter and I would have liked it more, but the little girl disrespects her dad repeatedly and thinks nothing of lying to get her way. It downgraded the movie because of it. A nice diversion once the movie got past that part.
My Ratings: Average / 3
Bill Walters, age 58
Negative—…The girl is disrespectful to her father, I do not like the fact that they called his home a “bachelor” pad, and many more things occured that I did not approve. I took my 14 year old daughter to see it, and for some parts I had to cover her eyes because his shirt was off! I would say that only mature audiences should be permitted to see this inappropiate film!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1½
Jaoquin M., age 37
Negative—Dewayne Johnson is not a good image for anyone except those who do not want to live like a Christian should live. Also Walt Disney endorses homosexuals which the Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality is a sin so therefore this film has 2 strikes against it already. The third strike comes from Dewayne Johnson being a part of the most ungodly wrestling world that there has ever been and in my opinion wrestling, Dewayne Johnson and the homosexuals that Walt Disney has endorsed needs to be put out of America.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
Stephen Floyd, age 43
Comments from young people
Positive—The Game Plan was overall good. I saw it with my dad and we have to addmit that it is more a father, daughter movie. Nothing offensive about the bible, just a good clean movie, although there were some parts that Joe Kingman is talking about his wife and how they might have been able to have a baby, but it is just a good fun movie to see with your father or daughter!
My Ratings: Good / 4
Kaitlin, age 12
Positive—This is a great movie but a lot of movies have bad parts no matter what… We saw dancing, drinking, lying, putting people down, and being prideful/selfish. When we got in the car we started talking about what was wrong in the movie so we all came up with at least 2 things we all went over on how it should of been. It is a good movie to go see, and I highly recconmend it.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
Sydney, age 12
Positive—All I can say is: Oh my gosh. BEST MOVIE EVER SINCE HARRY POTTER 5, PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN 3 AND LORD OF THE RINGS!!! I enjoyed it so much! I watched it with my best friends… It was so good I can’t even believe it! Excellent. EXCELLENT!!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
Emily, age 12
Positive—Overall, I love this movie! I understand there are some bad material in it and I can agree with that, but it is a great movie. In the end it reminds me how fathers should be (at the end of the move.) These days there are fathers who don`t seem to care for their kids. Some do bad things and get thrown in jail for life. Because of that, I live with my grand parents and not my parents.I wish they came up with this movie earlier. I recomend this movie for all dads and their families.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Courtney, age 11