June got us comps to "The Game Plan" at the very last minute today. There was this huge crowd strung out along a red carpet at GV, Vivocity; and surprise, surprise, Mr Johnson himself strode in to the music of Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock". Corny, but somehow appropriate.
The pix was a quick grab using June's cellphone cam. Mine tends to run out of juice when I need it most.
Honestly, Game Plan wasn't on my list of to-watch movies. I'm quite leery of movies pitting known tough guys against wise-ass pipsqueaks. Arnold's done it, Hulk Hogan's done it, Vin Diesel's done it, and now The Rock? Big guys being put in their place by a tiny costar is usually hilarious in a David and Goliath sense, but the gags come cheap.
But The Rock, to his credit, isn't playing for laughs. There are the expected laugh-out-loud moments, but never once do we feel he's just milking comedy by making a fool of himself. Though his character, Joe Kingman, fumbles around with a new wrinkle in his life -- a daughter he never knew he had -- at a most crucial stage in his pro-football career, and though this unexpected situation causes chaos in his well-ordered existence, he never loses control but instead visibly puts himself on a learning curve to cope with it.
When Kingman gets forced into performing ballet with daughter, Peyton, there's an opportunity for on-screen silliness, but, no. While not entirely balletic, The Rock's on the mark, moving with the ensemble rather than against it. Good choice. In this respect, The Rock makes a transition that few in his industry have been able to, that is to separate the wrestler from the actor, and that's professionalism at the highest level.
Although Game Plan still follows formula ultimately, there are a few twists and surprises to sustain our interest. Peyton arrives at Kingman's apartment under rather suspicious circumstances, and what exactly is her hidden agenda with him?
If there's a point to this movie, it's that despite Kingman's wildly successful celebrity status, with his opulence, fame and his victory trophies, he lives in an empty, lonely world full of nothing but himself. But with the arrival of Peyton, he has to take stock of his situation and ask, what's life without a little chaos? What's success with no one to share it with? Good questions.
Also, a winning team comprises more than just the star quarterback.