Joe Kingman is living his dream. He’s a pro football player, the hero of his team and an icon in his town. He’s got more money than he knows what to do with, so he spends ridiculous amounts of money in furnishing his way-cool, manly apartment. He’s got a date for every event, an outfit for every mood, and his only worries revolve around how white his teeth look when he’s on TV.
But one day, a little girl shows up on his doorstep and informs him she’s his daughter.
Joe was married for a short time about eight years previously, but things just didn’t work out. When he and his wife split, she was pregnant, but she decided not to tell him, as his NFL career was just taking off and he wasn’t invested in their relationship any more. She has been called away to help with a well-digging project in Africa, and she sent her daughter, along with a note, to Joe, in hopes that he would take care of her for a month.
Joe is completely thrown for a loop, but after he has the chance to get used to the idea, he starts to warm to it. In fact, by the end of the movie, he’s totally in love with his daughter and can’t stand the idea of being away from her. The journey to that point is hysterical as he gets used to having a little girl around, Bedazzling his belongings and dressing his dog in a tutu.
I appreciated the way a positive father/daughter relationship was portrayed in the film. At first I was little concerned—Joe is played by The Rock, who has a very formidable presence, and I feared he might overshadow his young co-star. I don’t know where they found this little girl, but she was excellent. Her name is Madison Pettis, and not only did she act the part well, she gave it back as much as she took it. Her spunk and her personality were a perfect offset to The Rock’s intensity.
Things aren’t perfect in this household, and father and daughter do have their moments of drama and angst. But it all comes together beautifully in the end and I really enjoyed this PG-rated film. Very young viewers might find it a little boring, but children ages six and up, especially little girls, will like it.
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