A year ago "The Rock" brought us a tough, based on real-life drama called 'Gridiron Gang'.
This time around he's got a gang of Disney-ingredients aimed at scoring a solid family hit.
- likable, loose (his loosest onscreen yet) softie-on-the-inside performance
- cute kid (Madison Pettis of Disney Channel's 'Cory In The House')
- memorable and highly-visual pet/sidekick (Tubbs the bulldog portrays "Spike")
- tragic parental situation (see 'Bambi', 'The Lion King', etc.)
- recognizable pro ( Kyra 'The Closer' Sedgwick)
- on-the-horizon love interest (Roselyn Sanchez of 'Without A Trace')
- authenticity faces (Hall of Famer Boomer Esiason and Marv Albert)
- Synergy (onscreen shots of ESPN and the Disney Channel's 'The Suite Life of Zack and Cody', 'Hannah Montana' theme song, Aly & AJ's version of 'Do You Believe In Magic' and hire the recurring Dad character from 'Zack and Cody' too)
- winning element from another Disney hit, 'Lilo & Stitch' (Elvis obsession)
- soundtrack favorites (Elvis and the Motown chestnut, 'My Girl')
- cute cast & crew singalong over closing credits
I've had the opportunity to see this film twice now, the first with an invited industry audience and last night's with contest winners consisting of many kids & parents. The first group saw it as an overall family hit that touched all the necessary bases. And needless to say, the latter group roared at the sight gags and jokes and really reacted (visibly and audibly) to their range of emotions buttons being pressed.
Director Andy Fickman and "The Rock" are scheduled to next team on 'Witch Mountain' for Disney,
'The Game Plan' should give them a nice leg up until then.
'The Game Plan' from Walt Disney Pictures
is rated PG and opens in theatres September 28th
Nationwide Sneak Previews are scheduled for this weekend