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Film / The Game Plan

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He had the perfect game plan. There's just one little problem...

The Game Plan is a 2007 Disney family comedy film directed by Andy Fickman, with the screenplay by Nichole Millard and Kathryn Price, and the story by Millard, Price and Audrey Wells.

NFL quarterback Joe Kingman (Dwayne Johnson) is living the perfect bachelor lifestyle when he discovers that he has an 8-year-old daughter he's never known about named Peyton (Madison Pettis). Hilarity Ensues when she comes to stay with him as Joe struggles to be a parent while also juggling his sports career.

The film also stars Kyra Sedgwick as Stella Peck, Morris Chestnut as Travis Sanders, and Roselyn Sánchez as Monique Vasquez.

This film is an example of:

  • Action-Hero Babysitter: The Rock as a football player unexpectedly having to raise a ballerina for a daughter.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Back-to-Back Poster: One poster has buff footballer Joe back-to-back with his tiny ballerina daughter for humor.
  • Book Ends: The first game of the film and the last game features the Boston Rebels playing against the New York Dukes.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Peyton at one point overhears Joe's agent, Stella talking about how Joe and her aunt Karen going into a custody battle over her might ruin his chances with his sponsors. Since Peyton knows how much football means to him, she then pretends she wants to go home with Karen.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • When Joe says he's allergic to cinnamon, Peyton says she's allergic to nuts. She accidentally ingests nuts in a dessert, which provides the impetus for the film's final act.
    • When Joe and his agent are discussing other potential caregivers for Peyton, he remembers that Sara had a sister named Karen, but Peyton tells them Karen is dead, and this is quickly forgotten. At the film's climax, it's revealed that Karen is not only alive, but she's the woman that Peyton had been talking to throughout the film, as she became Peyton's legal guardian after Sara died.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Monique can be seen to get rather flustered by Joe's, erm, athletic physique during ballet training while he's not looking.
  • Down to the Last Play: What else? It's a family film with sports.
  • Dumb Blonde: The nanny they originally hire is quite ditzy and is more concerned with being picked by "The King" instead of taking care of Peyton.
  • Every Year They Fizzle Out: Joe is by far the most famous and popular footballer, yet he's never actually won the championship. This is averted by the end of the film.
  • Everybody Is Single: Except for Sanders, and he's initially teased for going home early to his wife and kids.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When Joe and his agent are trying to figure out if Peyton's claim of being Joe's daughter tracks.
    Joe: [He and his ex-wife] got the separation, the divorce was final, she came by to pick up a few of her things and then we... We — Is anyone else hungry?
  • Fictional Pinball Game/Personal Arcade: Joe Kingman has a "Kingman" pinball gamenote  in his apartment.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During their first father-daughter fight, when Joe asks Peyton what does she want, Peyton is tearing up when she shouts "My Mom!".
    • Throughout the movie, Peyton calls a woman and sends her photos whenever Joe is absent. At first, it looks like she's calling her mother who likely doesn't want to speak with her ex. However, notice Peyton never refers to the woman as "Mom".
  • Glorified Sperm Donor: Joe. To be fair though, he didn't actually know he had a daughter until she showed up on his doorstep.
  • Growling Gut: Happens to Stella during Joe's big game, where her stomach growls right before a loud fart. Looks like Fanny Burgers really do give you gas!
  • I'm Going to Disney World!: Part of a subplot in the movie where Joe would make a lot of money by saying something similar about an In-Universe burger franchise should he win the championship game. Upon winning, he instead opts to say that he's taking his daughter home.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "Looks like someone lost their man card."
    • "'Stupid' is a mean word!"
  • Jerk Jock: Joe starts off as a professional version of this, although after Peyton comes into his life, he eventually softens up.
  • Love Interest: Throughout the course of the film, Joe falls for Peyton's ballet instructor, Monique Vasquez (played by Roselyn Sánchez).
  • Luke, You Are My Father: After Joe finds a little girl named Peyton on his doorstep, she reveals to him that since he used to be married to her mother, Sara Kelly, she is his daughter.
  • Manly Tears: After Peyton gets taken back by Karen, Joe cries after finding a letter from Peyton's mother explaining the situation, who he just learned had died six months prior.
  • Meaningful Name: Hmm, a football movie with a character named Peyton... One can only wonder if she was born on the 18th. (At least according to her, however, this is actually a coincidence, as she says she was named after a Nobel Prize-winning doctor.)
  • Missing Mom: Peyton claims that her mother is in Africa helping sick children, accounting for her absence throughout the film. This is later played horribly straight as Sara was said to have died in a car accident six months prior.
  • Parental Abandonment: Peyton grows up without her dad. Accidental in this case since Joe never knew about her existence.
  • Plot Allergy: Peyton's nut allergy.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Joe and Peyton's ballet recital.
  • Red Herring: When Peyton was being interrogated by Joe and his manager about her legal guardian (as Peyton stated her mom was currently in Africa), Joe thought of Karen, Sara's sister, only for Peyton to state that she has passed away. We see later on that Peyton has been in contact with an adult female in Africa who she appears to be close to, and assume the woman to be her mother. However, it is later revealed that Peyton lied and the woman was in fact Karen, Sara's sister, while Sara was the one who had died.
  • Scary Black Man: Subverted with the one of Joe's teammates, Clarence Monroe. He scares Peyton at first, but he turns out to be a Gentle Giant under his tough exterior, as he's later seen playing dolls with Peyton in a club, giving her high fives, and crying during her ballet recital.
  • Sink or Swim Fatherhood: Joe is a professional football player who suddenly is stuck with his 8-year old daughter who he didn't know existed until she showed up on his doorstep. He doesn't take it well.
  • Speech Impediment: Kingman gets one after Peyton gives him a cookie with cinnamon. He's allergic to cinnamon, and it makes his tongue swell up. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Kingman and Peyton's ballet instructor Monique.
  • Wham Line: Peyton delivers two of these to Joe. The first is her introduction.
    Peyton: My name is Peyton...I'm your daughter.
    • The second is accidental:
    Peyton: No, I have to get back before she does.
    • Also, this sad exchange between Joe and Karen.
    Karen: She didn't tell you, did she? Joe... Sara died in a car accident six months ago.
  • Wham Shot: Everything changes once Karen arrives at the hospital asking for Peyton.
    Karen: Please tell me Peyton's alright.
    Joe: She's going to be...
    Monique: She's going to be fine. The doctor says that she's going to be fine.
    Karen: You're lucky I haven't called the police.
    Joe: Karen?
    Karen: I got home early and I see you and Peyton. Your faces plastered on the front of every magazine. I called Peyton a hundred times yesterday. She didn't answer. I flew out here, got off the plane, and I see all of this on the news.
    Joe: Karen?
    Karen: Is that all you can say for yourself is "Karen"?
    Joe: I... I thought you were dead.
    Karen: I can assure you I'm not dead. How did you find her?
    Joe: I didn't. She found me. Wait a minute. Is Peyton's mom still in Africa?
    Karen: She didn't tell you? Did she?