"Just Over the Top"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(BB, PC, Ho, LL, V, S, N, A, D, M) Ultimately moral message about doing the right thing, overcoming egotism and pride, and caring for your neighbor, with light politically correct elements regarding a lesbian couple; about 18 obscenities and three profanities; lots and lots of slapstick violence including adult pushing kids, adult being hit by tether ball and slugged by coach, and several balls hitting males in the groin; no overt sexual content, wife kisses husband in a loving but non passionate way several times and lesbian parents used for comic effect, although they are not ridiculed; upper male nudity showing bruises from tether ball game; alcohol; smoking rebuked and coffee used as a comic device for hero who uses it as a drug; and, lying rebuked, screaming, yelling, and cheating.
KICKING AND SCREAMING is hilarious. Critics who complained about another sports movie before the movie started were laughing uproariously at the critic screening.
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.