PG for thematic elements,
language and some crude humor
May 13, 2005
Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall,
Kate Walsh, Mike Ditka, Musetta Vander
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Kicking and Screaming
By Elliott Ryan
Will Ferrell is a funny man. That will be the conclusion
most viewers of Kicking and Screaming will reach as the
closing credits roll. They will not be amazed by an original and
intricate plot. They also will not be pondering any deep truths
about life unveiled during the film. But for most, they will walk
away with the opinion that Ferrell is funny.
Kicking and Screaming is Ferrell’s second “family”
film. In 2003, the Saturday Night Live alumnus starred as Buddy
in the holiday family film Elf. This film is not quite
as good as Elf. But it doesn’t really need to be.
Ferrell’s manic comedy style is enough to make a viewer
not notice the shallowness of the movie’s plot. Ferrell
has a comic energy that can make an otherwise unspectacular film
Ferrell stars as Phil Weston, an ineffectual soccer dad who comes
to learn the true meaning of sportsmanship. Or something like
that. Renowned actor Robert Duvall (The Godfather, Apostle,
Secondhand Lions) plays Phil’s father Buck, who
has tormented Phil all of his life. Buck, the coach of his grandson’s
soccer team, is so concerned with victory that he trades his own
grandson off the team. Phil ends up volunteering to coach his
son’s new team and the family feud is on.
Phil gets some coaching advice from legendary football coach
Mike Ditka, who plays himself. The interaction between rookie
coach Phil and his hapless team members provide many humorous
moments. Phil eventually follows in his father’s footsteps
and becomes more concerned with winning than he is with preserving
his relationship with his own family.
Ferrell’s presence overshadows the other actors, two other
performances are also worth nothing. Duvall turns in an excellent
comedic performance that will make viewers wish he starred in
comedies more often. Ditka, in his first role in a major motion
picture, puts in a good performance that shows he may have a career
outside of sports in his future.
The MPAA rated this movie PG for “thematic elements, language,
and some crude humor.” While it is being hailed as the first
family comedy of the summer, there are several aspects of this
film that may make parents think twice before taking children
to the theater to see it. Several jokes (which may be over your
children’s heads anyway) are a bit risqué for family
fare. One child on the little league soccer team has two mommies
as Hollywood tries once again to make a lifestyle that is rejected
by mainstream America as immoral seem commonplace and acceptable.
So perhaps this isn’t as much of a family movie as it purports
But hey, that Will Ferrell is a funny man.
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