Kicking And Screaming


Directed by: Jesse Dylan
Written by:Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick
Starring: Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall, Mike Ditka, Kate Walsh, Musetta Vander, Dylan McLaughlin
Released: August 11, 2005
Grade: C-

This is the worst film Will Ferrell has made.  As I can’t find a single redeeming feature, it’s well and truly earned by worst grading.

Phil Weston (Ferrell) is coaching an under 12s soccer team which includes his son, Sam (McLaughlin).  They’re known as the Tigers but you wouldn’t know it from their reputation.  Don’t ask me how but they’ve been deemed the worst team after only one just game of the season.  Phil is the new coach after his predecessor walked out and hasn’t been seen since.

Phil’s got not idea how to coach a soccer team but has a point to prove to his father, Buck (Duvall).  You see, Buck coaches the number 1 team in the competition and has always looked down upon his son.  He’s never had any belief in his son’s sporting ability nor his job as a vitamin salesman.  If you ask me, Buck’s made the right assessment in thinking his son’s a moron.

Thankfully for Phil, his father has an enemy and next door neighbour in former gridiron star Mike Ditka (playing himself).  Ditka agrees to help Phil train the team so he too can get revenge on Buck.  When they recruit two gun Italian forwards from a butchery, the team starts to gel and the wins start coming.  Lo and behold, Phil and Buck’s teams are soon facing off in the grand final.

Underdog films are usually inspiring but the development of this story doesn’t seem to make any sense?  Apart from the two Italians, the rest of the team doesn’t seem to get better at all during the matches.  How can you win with just two good players?  Phil and Mike have no idea what they’re doing so how does the team’s performance improve?  Why to the parents keep supporting him when he is so rude and disrespectful to them?  The worst subplot sees Phil become a coffee addict and harass family, friends and coffee shop staff.  What was the point of this?

Kicking & Screaming is an empty void of a film that doesn’t know what it wants to be.  It could possibly be a comedy but Phil’s over-the-top antics create sympathy for him rather than comedy.  It could possibly be a family film but Phil’s son is hardly seen and the other kids have even less screen time.  It could possibly be a sporting drama but the farcical story is more convenient than believable.

After 40 minutes, my attention span was gone.  I resorted to checking my mobile phone for the latest cricket updates in the 2nd test between Australia and England.  When I left the theatre, the Aussies still needed 30 runs to win and I was racing back to the car to listen to the radio broadcast.  An awesome comeback by the Aussies but I’m shattered to see them fall two runs short.  Now that’s entertainment!