The Game Plan

Friday night movie in the hamlet was Disney fare called The Game Plan with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He starred as a quarterback for a make-believe Boston team on the verge of its first championship. Completely self-absorbed, he is missing the one ingredient that will take him from “almost” to “legend”.

That missing ingredient?

A long-lost eight year old daughter from a barely remembered college marriage.

His ex-wife withheld the information due to his immature behavior and eight years didn’t age him much.

Being a Disney flick, Dad is inept. Daughter is wise-cracking. The agent (Kyra Sedgwick – looking very, very old) is the foil who is holding Dad back by reinforcing his selfishness and, of course, Mom … is … dead.

Yeah, it wouldn’t be a very Disney story without a dead parent. Mom’s seem to be the corpse of choice anymore, but it’s not a given.

It’s convoluted. The death isn’t revealed until close to the end, but Dee perked up and caught it like a terrier and didn’t let go. Angst about parents who “split up” and worry about dead people followed for a goodly amount of time after the movie ended.

“I don’t want you and Dad to split up,” lip quivering.

It took strength not to roll my eyes. Most of the time she complains that we kiss too much.

“That won’t happen,” I assured her.

So much insecurity and always when I think she is grounded. She’s been calling Rob “Dad” most of time for the last little bit and is busily plotting her eventual name change. Moving first from the diminutive of her given name to her given name (Will insisted she have a “grown up name”. He thought this was important though he seldom used his own “William”) in grade three. In grade four, she plans to adopt Rob’s surname and drop Will’s (her call completely and I refuse to influence her one way or another).

Between Rob and I, the dead parent/spouse thing in movies is something of a joke, but for Dee it is an unsettling reminder of the ease with which life can flip end over end.