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Sure, there isnít a trace of originality to be found in anywhere in THE GAME PLAN ($30), but then again, family comedies arenít the realm of great cinematic art and it is doubtful that the intended audience will notice the difference. What THE GAME PLAN lacks in originality, it makes up for in likeability, thanks to the presence of leading man Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who still comes across as likeable, even when his character is supposed to an egotistical, self-centered jerk. THE GAME PLAN finds Dwayne Johnson in the role of star NFL quarterback Joe Kingman, who is enjoying fame, fortune and the bachelor lifestyle, that is, until an unexpected package shows up on his doorstep.

Madison Pettis portrays Peyton Kelly, the all too cute, eight year old package on Joe Kingmanís doorstep- who turns out to be the daughter the quarterback never knew he had. As you might expect, Joe knows zero about parenting and having a daughter places more than a few crimps on his carefree celebrity lifestyle. What follows is a series of sitcom level comic disasters as father and daughter begin to build a bond, sometimes under the scrutiny of an unflattering public spotlight. Of course, there is not a moment of THE GAME PLAN that resembles real life, but the movie hits all the right marks to tickle the kiddies and keep their parents mildly amused. The cast of THE GAME PLAN also features Kyra Sedgwick, Roselyn Sanchez, Morris Chestnut, Hayes MacArthur, Brian J. White, Jamal Duff, Paige Turco, Tubbs and Gordon Clapp.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has made THE GAME PLAN available on DVD in a 2.35:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is a really great looking transfer; the image is sharp and well defined, except for the occasional mildly soft shot. Colors are well saturated and the flesh tones are highly appealing. Blacks are deep, while the whites appear crisp and stable. Contrast and shadow detail are excellent for a standard definition release. The film elements used for the transfer are virtually pristine and there is very little apparent grain during the presentation. Digital compression artifacts remain under the radar.

THE GAME PLAN comes with a nice Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Because of the football game sequences, the sound design gets to venture outside the constraints of a standard comedy mix. The football sequences are high octane and pack enough of a wallop. The talky passages bring the film back to the level of a comedy mix, where the forward soundstage dominates. Fidelity is pretty strong across the board. The bass channel sees most of its activity during the football passages and to ground the music. Dialogue is warmly recorded and easy to understand. French and Spanish channel tracks are also provided, along with French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extra features. Featurettes include Drafting The Game Plan (twenty minutes), ESPN SportsCenter Exclusive: The King In Search Of A Ring (five minutes) and ESPN's SportsCenter: The Rock Learns To Play QB (three minutes). Also included on the DVD are twenty minutes of Deleted Scenes, Bloopers With Marv Albert (three minutes) and Peyton's Makeover Madness (interactive fun for the kids).

THE GAME PLAN is likable family fun thanks to the presence of Dwayne Johnson. Disneyís DVD looks and sounds great. Check out the DVD before the countless pan and scan showings on The Disney Channel begin.



The Game Plan (Widescreen Edition) (2007)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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