Family man Phil Weston, a lifelong victim of his father's competitive nature, takes on the coaching duties of a kids' soccer team, and soon finds that he's also taking on his father's dysfunctional way of relating.
Phil Weston is a goodhearted loser who suffered throughout his childhood due to his competitive overbearing sports coach father, and this has resulted in him inheriting that same attitude, which affects his relationship with his less-than athletic son. When he becomes coach of his son's soccer team, with a poor track record in terms of winning, he strives to beat a rival team, coached by none other than his father.Written by
Will Ferrell's Attempt to Save a Crummy Cheeseball Movie
Out of all the talented people who were on 'Saturday Night Live' in the last fifteen years, Will Ferrell is by far my favorite. He's such a charismatic, energetic and hilarious performer. He truly is a comic genius. He's also one of the most successful SNL alumni of all time. For most of the cast members, after they leave 'Saturday Night Live' their careers go down the toilets. But not Will Ferrell, he only improved his career after his goodbye to SNL, with great comedies like Old School, Anchorman, and even, Elf. Whenever you go see a Will Ferrell film you have the strong expectation of it being really good. Well, Ferell's latest effort, 'Kicking and Screaming', is a disappointment of epic proportions. But that isn't his fault. Poor Mr. Ferrell tries as hard as he can to lift this dud off the ground, but he just isn't able to because of the movie's beyond lame screenplay. Yes, those thinking 'Kicking and Screaming', would be the next great Will Ferrell movie are sadly mistaking. I was one of those people, and that's why I left the theater so incredibly disappointed.
The movie is a little league soccer flick, and it circles around the all-too-familiar plot of the dipstick son trying to live up to his non-supportive father. The dipstick is Will Ferrell's character, Phil Weston. He owns a vitamin store, and is always trying to gain the respect of his father, Buck Weston (played by Academy Award Winner Robert Duvall), who owns a chain of sporting good stores and viciously coaches a little league soccer team, which Phil's son is a part of. One day, Buck trades Phil's son to another team because he isn't a good player. This infuriates Phil, and eventually has him coach the team his son has been traded to, to show daddy he's not a screw-up. The movie pretty much follows the competition of the two father-son coaches. Whose team will win the championship? By the end of the movie, you really don't care anymore, and you're looking at your watch frantically to see how much of this waste of film is left.
It isn't so much 'Kicking and Screaming' is a horrible movie, it's just not a good one by any stretch of the imagination. The biggest problem with the film is the screenplay -- it is absolutely dreadful (to quote Simon Cowell to one of the untalented hack wannabe singers on 'American Idol'). It's very amateurish, and it doesn't go places it should to be funny. It's very bland and so conventional it will have you yawning after the 30-minute mark. Although it succeeds being funny sometimes, for the most part it fails miserably at earning laughs. Whoever wrote this trashy script should be banned from the film industry, because it is just awful. The movie is really saved by Will Ferrell, who really puts forth an effort to make the most of his part, but an actor in a film is only as good as the film's screenplay. Ferrell achieves hilarity in some scenes, but most of his lines are embarrassingly stupid and unoriginal. Mike Ditka is actually pretty good playing himself, and Robert Duvall serves as an example of a waste of good talent in this childish sap fest.
In conclusion, 'Kicking and Screaming' is something you should avoid. If you really love Will Ferrell, it just may be worth watching to see Ferrell break out in a violent rage brought on by too much coffee, but for the lot of us it is just plain old cinematic crap. Grade: C- (screened at AMC Deer Valley 30, Phoenix, Arizona, 5/13/05)
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