"Kicking & Screaming"
Directed by Jesse Dylan.
Written by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick.
Starring Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall and Mike Ditka.
Release Year: 2005
Review Date: 5/16/05
Hey, it's got Will Ferrell in it, and
therefore, I had to see "Kicking & Screaming."
(You're right--I didn't see "Melinda and
Melinda", that Woody Allen flick with Ferrell from a few months ago,
but I lost most faith in Woody Allen around, oh, forever ago.)
Directed by the same guy that directed Meth
and Redman in "How
High" three years ago, "Kicking & Screaming" stars Ferrell as
Phil Weston, a pharma shop owner that is a mild-mannered father of
an 11-year-old named Sam (Dylan McLaughlin) and is the son of a
fanatical youth-league soccer coach named Buck (Robert Duvall).
When Buck trades away Sam from his current team, and the coach of
the team that Sam was traded to doesn't want to coach the current
season, Phil steps in to coach the team. After a disastrous
start to the season, Phil hires retired Chicago Bears coach Mike
Ditka (himself) to be an assistant coach and to whip his current
bunch of losers into shape...just in time to take on Buck's team,
the Gladiators, in the league final.
After a very funny intro detailing how Phil
meets his wife, "Kicking & Screaming" gets going slowly but by the
time Phil's new squad, the Tigers, starts winning, the movie picks
up nicely. Ferrell is his usual self, but movies like this
really depend on how good the team of kids is and thankfully, they
are fantastic. From the little Asian kid Byong Sun (Elliot Cho)
to the Italian wunderkinds (Francesco Liotti and Alessandro
Ruggiero) that Phil adds to the roster midseason, the Tigers players
are mostly a funny group. Add that to Ferrell's antics, and
you get a great combination for the on-field soccer laughs.
But, even when "Kicking & Screaming" gets
off the field, the laughs still come through at a steady clip, be it
constant bickering between Phil and his dad Buck (and a memorable
tetherball sequence) or Phil's addiction to coffee later in the
film. Ditka was actually pretty funny in this film, and
Duvall--while giving you the impression that he is dialing it
in--seems to enjoy hamming it up with Ferrell and/or Ditka
throughout the movie. Hell, even throwaways like when Mark
(Steven Anthony Lawrence), a goofy-looking kid on the Tigers that
thinks he is the funniest guy in the world, is running up the field
and--while gasping for air--says
"I'm really out of shape for an
I was still laughing at stuff like that.
Being a family film, "Kicking & Screaming" has the requisite Lesson
That Must Be Learned near the end and a bailout ending thanks to
said Lesson. I never love this but I understand that this is
the cost of doing PG-rated business. Also, Phil's wife (Kate
Walsh) is mostly left on the sideline, given nothing more to do than
remind Phil he is becoming addicted to winning soccer games; I felt
she was a wasted comedic element. Also, no outtakes?
This is Will Ferrell we're talking about here. Also, I got a
little tired of watching goalies--as the ball is coming directly at
them--dive out of the way to allow goals; I know it's tough to
choreograph scenes like this, but the goals in "Kicking & Screaming"
mostly look dumb.
But, that's picky. As a whole, this
was good times; I won't need to watch it again but I was laughing
heartily while sitting there in the theater.
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard