For this week’s episode of “Movie Review Monday!” we stumble upon a Disney movie starring Dwayne Johnson and the lovable kid actress Madison Petis. The movie, (“Game Plan”), is about Joe Kingman, the all-star quarterback of the Boston Rebels. He gets surprised by the daughter he didn’t know he had showing up at his door, (surprise!). 

This movie was a unique idea, but the premise was already messed up from the git-go. The whole reason Joe Kingman didn’t know he had a daughter was because he left his wife before she was born, (strike one for the father).

So, the movie is about a big-headed football player trying to be a father. I’ll give it one thing: for movies of this type, the “famous person learning to live in the real world” type movies, “Game Plan” is the best of the lot. 

ACTING:

We all know that Dwayne Johnson is not the most versatile or inventive actor. The guy has talent, but he’s not a superb actor. Also, touchy subject, but with most kid actors and actresses, the quality of acting is very poor. Only type cast children actors end up giving real pro performances. Madison Petis is great, but also weak at many points in the film. 

Acting gets a moderate 6 of 10 stars.

STORY:

Because of the nature of the situation that brings this father and daughter together, the story is interesting, but hardly a good worldview. Morally, there are so many problems with this film, not the least of them being a dad who plays the field, and even gets emotionally attached to his daughter’s ballet teacher while his wife is still living.

At a late point in the movie, Joe Kingman finds out that his wife died six months ago. His face shows shock, surprise, and loss, which is hard to swallow given that his actions show that he gave her up for dead a long time ago. The emotions that they attempted to portray were contrary to the actions of the characters. The setting, the background, and the events that took place were poorly composed and weakly written. Story wise, this movie was a mess.

Story earns a whopping 4 of 10 stars. It was unique, yet terribly pulled off.

MESSAGE:

Speaking of messes, here’s the message of the story: love changes people.

The love of his daughter and his love for his daughter were what ultimately changed Joe Kingman from a prideful, selfish, all-star football player, into a considerate and caring father. That’s what the intended message was. What I gleaned from the movie was a message more akin to: you can live however you want to live and everything will turn out alright.

This is why we call it messages. The messages that Hollywood send to us through film are so messed up. The underlying theme of, “the end justifies the means”, is constantly in play. They are teaching us that the steps you take to get where you are do not matter, as long as you get there.

The message of this story was a flop, I give it a 3 of 10 stars.

KILLING STROKE:

This is a new category in my reviews that will be classified as “the moment where the movie lost it for me”. You’ve noticed a few new categories, mostly I create different sectors based upon in which areas the movie was flawed or weak.

The killing stroke of this movie, for me was the lack of repentance on Joe Kingman’s part. Sure, he tries to play the remorse card, but doesn’t actually feel sorry for what he did or that his wife was dead. More than that, there is no recognition of wrong doing. For all the contradictory pieces of this movie, it has withstood time and is still a favorite of many; as is evidenced by it still being available in the Walmart 5 dollar bin. It’s not a bad movie, but it is messed up in its messages.

If you’re watching it for fun, I don’t want to spoil it for you. But if you watch it with your eyes open, looking for the hidden meaning behind the facade, you’ll see a different film. 

DISNEY’S TRADEMARK:

Disney is famous for inspiring kids to dream and creating a family-oriented environment in their books, theme parks, and media. But, in direct proportion, Disney is infamous for having characters with single-parent homes. You don’t believe me?

Princess Jasmine, Nemo, Elizabeth Snow, Dumbo, Bambi, Ariel, Simba, Belle, Tiana, Andy, Remy, Olivia Flaversham, Pocahantas, Luke Skywalker, Snow White, Cinderella, and Peyton Kingman all come from single parent homes. These, along with countless other Disney characters who have no parents at all have puzzled people for decades. 

Why is it that Disney characters lack mothers in most cases? Well, one reason is that Walt Disney blamed himself for his own mother’s death, as he was involved in events that led to it. Another is that in 90 minutes, in order for a character to undergo tremendous growth in that time, something needs to push them: in most cases the loss of a parent.

Whether this is a psychological decision on the part of the creators, or a plot point in the film, the loss of a parent is a terrible blow. Most of the problems with this little girl in “Game Plan” stem from the loss of her mother and the failure of her father. 

It’s a decent movie, but it’s not a healthy watch if you realize what you’re watching. I’ll rate it 5 of 10 stars. Nothing bad, but certainly nothing good. Tune in next week for another episode of Movie Review Monday!

As always, thanks for reading.

the anonymous novelist

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