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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Kicking and Screaming" was Noah Baumach's first film. He wrote and directed it at age 25, which is a real accomplishment because the film's very compelling. Riding the wave of the independent cinema in US in the early 90s, Baumbach created a tragicomedy of a tightly-wound group of friends grappling with the reality of life after graduation. Basically, their anxiety is borne out of accepting the responsibility of, finally, you know, growing up and joining the adult-force. As actor Chris Egieman (the articulate Max in the film) has pointed out in a recent interview, these guys are forced to accept that they must now take their lives seriously. Decisions and choices are optional no longer. The question of 'what next?' would need to be answered now. Bummer, right? Of course these early-20 white kids bicker and groan; someone of them delay the inevitable and slack around on the college campus, and at least one of them returns to school and retakes the same classes just so that "he can be a student again." The guys amuse themselves on dreary afternoons: they ask each other if they beat off; they do each others' girlfriends; they crowd around the beer bottles and cigarettes to play trivia games ("Name all 7 Jason Voorhees movies"). Mostly, they just hang out. And they talk; a lot. They philosophise the little things, every little small inconsequential detail that makes up their special universe.
Baumbach has confessed of his love for improv comedy, and he imbues the comedy of the film with some of that. Not all of it works (the Cookie Man scene is a little cringe-inducing) but it's cute at least. But the dialogue is pointed, always witty and full of incisive detail. Although Baumbach and regular collaborator Wes Andresen have been compared with the great JD Salinger, I think Richard Linklater could use some love too.
"Kicking and Screaming" will appeal to a certain type of audience: the pseudo-intellectuals who take, say, their hobbies a bit too seriously. These hobbies or interests could be movies or even crossword puzzles. But this is how the film's characters want to spend their days. They want the world, their parents and their lovers to understand that they are normal for thinking that life before jobs or marriage or kids is as good as it gets. It will make the viewer feel 'OK' about belonging to a certain tribe, a community of like-minded individuals that others accuse, "you all speak the same way." This film implies that it's not lame even if the successful moneymaking pricks on the outside may snigger and chuckle. "Kicking and Screaming" is a wonderful, uplifting, funny, poignant film about the impending doom of adulthood.
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