As I sit down to write this, I have witnessed the New York Mets complete the worst end of season collapse in Major League Baseball history. What does this have to do with my review of The Game Plan? Probably not much, but we got to witness a team with all the talent in the world fail to heed Joe Kingman's (Dwayne Johnson) catch phrase: "Never say no." This team stopped living that and said no to the dream some weeks ago, and it was a sad thing to watch.
Beyond that, I need something to raise my spirits, something that can make me smile. The Game Plan does just that. This light-hearted family comedy succeeds where the Mets have failed on this final day of the season, make me smile and leave me with pleasant memories. As far as baseball goes, there is always next year. As for the movies, they never stop; every week brings more to watch and they will always bring a smile to my face.
The Game Plan is not a terribly original movie. It does not break any new ground or offer up anything surprising for the genre. The plot points, save for one, are all telegraphed early on. If you cannot see the direction it is heading in early on, you have likely not seen that many movies.
Sort of sounds like I didn't care for the movie much, doesn't it? Well, sometimes what would appear to be criticism is exactly the opposite. It is a familiarity that works within the confines of the film. They say that familiarity breeds contempt; however, if you have the right ingredients you can change that feeling of contempt to something that more closely resembles respect. There is nothing wrong with making a film like this. The problems enter the picture when the creative team offers up little in the way of energy.
Take a look at something like The Pacifier. The concept and execution were devoid of passion and energy. The end result was a flat bore. Sure, it filled a need, but it did not do it very well. Compare that with the similarly themed No Reservations from earlier this year. That film leaned more towards the romantic and dramatic than the straight up comedic, but it was created by people who had a passion for the story. The end result was something that had a lot of heart and delivered a story that hit home even if the originality was not there.