“Kicking & Screaming” would have been one of the worst movies ever made if not for its star, Will Ferrell. So two questions need to be asked of Director Jesse Dylan: “What were you thinking when you were making this movie?” and “How are you going to repay Ferrell for saving this movie from being horrendous?”
Joining Ferrell in this ineffective, and redundant movie is Robert Duvall as Buck Weston, the competitive father of Phil Weston played by Ferrell. Mike Ditka plays assistant coach Mike Ditka and Kate Walsh is Barbara Weston, Phil’s sensible and sane wife.
Buck coaches a team in the local kids’ soccer league which Phil’s son Sam is involved with. Like his father, Sam is not much of an athlete and does not get much playing time on Buck’s talented squad. Buck decides to trade Sam to the Tigers, the worst team in the league. This upsets Phil, and we’ve got ourselves a movie.
Phil decides to become a coach himself. At first, it is all about having fun and just playing the game. But he becomes just as obsessed with winning as his dad. Instead of being content with below average talent, he recruits two Italian players from the local butcher shop who happen to be great soccer players. His coaching strategy is simple: Get the ball to the two Italian kids. This, of course, takes the fun out of the game of soccer for the rest of the team, especially for Sam.
The addiction of wanting to beat his father gets to Phil’s head off the soccer field, also. After being introduced to coffee by Ditka, Phil becomes an avid drinker to the point where he goes on a caffeine binge that actually leads to him being barred for life from a coffee shop. Wait, a coffee drinker getting kicked out of a coffee shop? Yes, but Phil takes it to another level acting like a maniac and causing a scene.
As expected, Phil’s Tigers and Buck’s Gladiators meet in the final match. Which team wins the match is no surprise, but what was surprising is nobody had left the theatre by this time.
There is one good part in this movie, the credits after the movie is over.
Will Ferrell has nine movies in the pipeline, so he could have done without “Kicking & Screaming.” Why he decided to do this movie is beyond comprehension. Maybe he wanted to step away from the “Old School” and “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” type movies. Or maybe he wanted to entertain four-year-olds at least once in his career.
But Ferrell is such a big star in Hollywood these days that he can afford to do a horrible movie. Fans of the comic genius will forgive him, but he better not turn into an Eddie Murphy and have a string of bad movies.
Avoid “Kicking & Screaming” at all costs. Those who want to see Ferrell in a movie can rent his past movies, or wait to see “Bewitched.”
Rating: * 1/2 (out of four)