'Kicking' needs some coaching
By BILLY NORRIS
Published May 23, 2005
MOVIE: Kicking & Screaming
RATING: PG for thematic elements, language and some crude humor
SUMMARY: Phil Weston (Will Ferrell) has lived his entire life in competition with his victory-hungry father, Buck (Robert Duvall). When the opportunity arises to coach his son's soccer team, the Tigers, against the team that his dad coaches, the Gladiators, Phil decides to just do it. He must turn the awkward group of 9- to 11-year-olds into an all-star team, and he is committed to doing so in order to prove his worth to his skeptical father, and perhaps to fill the void that has plagued this father-son relationship for years.
MY VIEW: This film isn't gifted with half the ridiculousness and hilarity that made Ferrell's Anchorman such a resounding success. What perplexed me the most were a couple of odd casting choices. Ex-NFL head coach Mike Ditka played a significant role as Ferrell's assistant coach. Okay, I see the merit in having a coach play a coach, but Mike Ditka in a family movie? Why? Duvall was another odd pick for this film. When you think of him, you don't usually think of humor. Ferrell, though, was perfectly cast as the do-good, middle-aged dad on a mission. But I've seen him perform much better. This is one of his less funny outings with a lack of that special all-out SNL enthusiasm. That spoiled the film for me. There were ample moments of purely funny dialogue and sight gags, but they fell flat, undercut by the film's mediocre plot and slightly sub-par acting.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Ferrell fans and families alike will probably be fairly disappointed, as this one never really gets off the ground. Take it or leave it.
[Last modified May 20, 2005, 09:55:03]
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