PG-13 for crude and sexual content, thematic material, language and a mild drug reference.
Sept. 14, 2007
Billy Bob Thornton, Seann William Scott, Susan Sarandon, Kurt Fuller, Amy Poehler
New Line Cinema
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- Nearly every boy in the United States has, at some time, had a no-nonsense physical education teacher like Billy Bob Thornton’s character in the new comedy Mr. Woodcock. Although the abusive character here is obviously exaggerated for comic effect, there’s a truth about a character like this that is undeniable. As someone once said, if there’s not a grain of truth in your comedy, then it probably isn’t funny.
Mr. Woodcock opens with flashbacks to the time when fat little John Farley was picked on by Mr. Woodcock, his phys ed teacher. Now that John is in his 20s, the painful memories of being in Mr. Woodcock’s class have been replaced with the self-confidence gained by John becoming a successful writer and motivational speaker.
John learns his small Iowan hometown wants to award him the “Corn Cob Key” at its annual “Cornival.” To the consternation of his uncaring tour manager, John decides to interrupt his book tour to go home and surprise his mom, Beverly. John’s happiness quickly turns to angst and despair when he learns that his mother has fallen in love with Mr. Woodcock. Things go from bad to worse when Mr. Woodcock proposes to John’s mom.
John tries to break them up, but his efforts just dig a deeper and deeper hole in his newfound self-confidence. John’s behavior gets more and more erratic, driving a wedge between him and his beloved mother. Can John and Woodcock ever learn to get along for the sake of her happiness?
Mr. Woodcock is one of those comedies where the hero’s calm façade is broken down through comic confrontations. In the process, the hero discovers valuable lessons about his own life and the human condition.
Thus, there are a couple kernels of truth in the often funny Mr. Woodcock. These kernels, however, come with a price, including foul language, vulgarities, and sexual references, so Movieguide® advises extreme caution.
Mr. Woodcock probably will attract some box office buzz, but it could be a bigger hit if most or all of the negative elements were cleaned up to make it more family friendly. A stronger redemptive ending also would help immensely.
Address Comments To:
Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne
New Line Cinema
116 North Robertson Blvd., Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (310) 854-5811
Fax: (310) 354-1824
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