Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson tries his hand at family comedy in The Game Plan, the tale of a sports hero and unwilling child minder. When cutesy Peyton turns up on Joe's doorstep claiming to be his daughter, he has no choice but to look after her. Cultures clash in an amusing fashion, and Joe's heart gradually warms. But can the star quarterback mix work and family with a big game coming up? No prizes for guessing in this predictable affair.
Despite its cheesy story, The Game Plan has one major trump card: The Rock is actually quite good. It's not the most demanding role for a former sports star, but he does show enough charm and comic ability to make this a relatively painless affair for parents. Kyra Sedgwick also raises the bar as his steely-eyed agent who tries to spin the Peyton story while remaining virtually phobic about children.
"DISNEY ENTERTAINMENT AT ITS MOST FORMULAIC"
Little girls should find plenty to identify with as the film draws on popular tween themes: Peyton puts glitter on everything, loves to shop and dreams of being a dancer. Almost all of her scenes are too long, though, and could do with some disciplined editing to prevent them from feeling repetitive. As it is, her precocious kid act outstays its welcome. The Game Plan is Disney entertainment at its most formulaic, but it's a film that sporty dads in particular should just about be able to stomach - if their little darlings insist.
The Game Plan is out in the UK on 7th March 2008.