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Kicking and Screaming (1995)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  6 October 1995 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 6,407 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 67 user | 42 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

Following graduation, a handful of college students do nothing and talk about it wittily.

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(story), (story), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Pete (as Sam Gould)
...
Gail
Jonathan Baumbach ...
Professor
...
Louis
...
Jane
Peter Czernin ...
Lester
...
Otis
...
Max
...
Chet
...
Josselyn
...
...
Christopher Reed ...
Friedrich (as Chris Reed)
...
Danny
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Storyline

After college graduation, Grover's girlfriend Jane tells him she's moving to Prague to study writing. Grover declines to accompany her, deciding instead to move in with several friends, all of whom can't quite work up the inertia to escape their university's pull. Nobody wants to make any big decisions that would radically alter his life, yet none of them wants to end up like Chet, the professional student who tends bar and is in his tenth year of university studies. Written by James Meek <james@oz.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Anxiety loves company.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language, and some sexuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 October 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Desmoi filias  »

Box Office

Gross:

$704,543 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The college is loosely based on Vassar College, which the director, Noah Baumbach, attended. See more »

Goofs

At the airport, when Grover says, "Shit, I wish I hadn't seen that", his mark is clearly visible on the floor when he walks away. See more »

Quotes

Otis: Cookie Man?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Brows Held High: Tiny Furniture (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Let's Start
Written by John Linnell and John Flansburgh
Performed by They Might Be Giants
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User Reviews

 
Talk-heavy indie is fresh and witty but boring
8 June 2009 | by (IL, USA) – See all my reviews

Apparently, I watched "Kicking and Screaming" at the perfect time -- not even a month after graduating college. Still, I don't find myself identifying with its characters or empathizing with their struggles other than the basic "I wish I didn't have to leave." Granted graduating college is different now than it was in the 1990s, but if this film were truly very good, it would resonate with college graduates of all generations. The problem is that as sharp, witty and original as the dialogue is, it's unnatural and it pushes us toward nothing.

Fans of dialogue in film, particularly the avant garde approach, will probably be quick to love this film debut from writer/director Noah Baumbach. He manages to write a lot of dialogue that we all think but never actually speak aloud (admirable), it's all quite clever (funny or at least amusing) but his characters like to talk a lot about what they do, which in this movie is nothing (boring). College graduates and friends Grover, Max, Skippy and Otis, all played by no-name actors basically decide to spend their first year post-graduation back at school because they are to afraid to leave. Skippy's girlfriend Miami is still a student so he stays, Otis is scared of moving to Milwaukee, Grover's girlfriend went to Prague, thus dumping him and backing out of their plans to live in Brooklyn together, etc. It's a very indie take on a coming of age story.

If it hasn't been made apparent, there's a lot of talking. You'll like a lot of what you hear and you'll be bored by a lot of it. People just generally don't talk this way, which helps the movie avoid cliché, making it fresh and funny, but also alienates the audience at times. At times I told myself I kind of liked it, at others I wondered what the point was. There is some definite intention behind everything Baumbach does, but he communicates this intention in ways most people won't grasp and it all comes across pointless. Plus, either Baumbach never communicates the reason for the title or I missed it because I wasn't totally paying attention. With so much dialogue, everything Baumbach really wants the audience to understand he must have spoken aloud and so rather than discovering meaning, it comes in the form of explanation.

"Kicking and Screaming" is an experiment, an artsy film that some will love just for being artsy and others will find boring for being exactly that way. Baumbach's writing shows promise, but it also has the potential to fail miserably.


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