KICKING AND SCREAMING (2005)
Just Over the Top
Release Date: May 13, 2005
Starring: Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall,
Mike Ditka, Kate Walsh, Josh
Hutcherson, Dylan McLaughlin,
and Museta Vander
Audience: Older children and adults
Runtime: 95 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Director: Jesse Dylan
Executive Producer: Charles Roven, Judd Apatow and
Producer: Jimmy Miller
Writer: Leo Benvenuti and Steve
Address Comments To:Bob Wright, Chairman/CEO
Ron Meyer, President/COO
Vivendi Universal Entertainment
Stacey Snider, Chairman
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
Phone: (818) 777-1000
Web Page: www.universalstudios.com
In the story, Will Farrell plays Phil Weston, a gentle New Agey vitamin store owner whose gentleness is in reaction to his gung-ho, relentlessly competitive father, Buck, played by Robert Duvall. When Phil accidentally meets a beautiful girl and gets engaged, he comes home to find his father is marrying a buxom young girl from the supermarket checkout counter. The day his son Sam is born, Phil’s baby brother, Bucky, is born. Bucky has all the competitive traits of his father, Buck; while Sam spends his time warming the bench.
When Buck trades his grandson, Sam, to the worst team in the local soccer league, Phil decides to become the coach. He brings Buck’s competitive neighbor, Mike Ditka, played by the real Mike Ditka, on board to coach the team. Phil learns how to drink coffee and eat meat, so he can be highly competitive. The soccer game becomes all about him and his father. He even recruits two young Italian soccer stars to play on his team. Eventually, he has to confront the fact that he’s gone over the top and that he’s losing his son, the team and his wife.
KICKING AND SCREAMING has a wonderful moral message for fathers. It also has some of the most brilliant comedy ever. The timing is superb, and the actors and director are to be commended. Will Ferrell is brilliant, as is Robert Duvall.
That said, the movie regrettably is peppered with obscenities, mainly from Mike Ditka. He is a surprisingly good actor, but a lot of the action and comedy is improvised, and those improvisation included words that should not be used in a PG movie. Another annoying point is the portrayal of a lesbian couple. Like many Hollywood movies, this perversity is portrayed as normal.
The good news, however, is that this movie is about fathers and sons learning to love each other, and there is a very strong emotional arc to the movie. Thus, in the final analysis, KICKING AND SCREAMING is a slightly guilty pleasure that is just over the top of the goal.
KICKING AND SCREAMING has a wonderful moral message for fathers. It also is hilarious. Will Ferrell and Robert Duvall are brilliant. Regrettably, the movie is peppered with obscenities, mostly coming from a neighbor, and some of the slapstick comedy is over the top. The good news, however, is that this movie is about fathers and sons learning to love each other, and the story has strong emotional appeal.