Kicking & Screaming 

Genre: Kiddie sports comedy

The pitch: Meek soccer dad Phil (Will Ferrell) gets in touch with his repressed rage when he takes over the Tigers, his son's losing team, and squares off with the league champs coached by Buck (Robert Duvall), his hypercompetitive, macho dad.

Money shots: The Tigers' Italian star players show off some admittedly fancy footwork. Phil has several comical freakouts, like shouting "Loser!" through a traffic cone at rival kids. A running joke about health-conscious Phil becoming a pissed-off, frequently scalded coffee addict gets more laughs than the whole soccer story.

Stunt casting: Mike Ditka, famed coach of Da Chicago Bearz, plays himself as Buck's vengeful neighbor who helps the Tigers just for spite. But why is Ditka practically in the whole film when the role amounts to a one-joke cameo?

Movie homages: Phil and Buck's tetherball grudge match evokes the Oedipal basketball game of Robert Duvall's The Great Santini.

Best line: Phil taunts a rival kid with "I can eat a box of cookies for dinner if I want to, and you can't. Know why? 'Cause you're a farty-face."

Hit singles: Peppy hip-hop like Steriogram's "Walkie Talkie Man" and The Black Eyed Peas "Let's Get It Started" accompanies the Tigers' matches.

Earning the PG Rating: One of the Tigers' only talents on the soccer field is eating worms. Phil receives one of the film's three groin kicks, but the prepubescent crotch injuries just aren't as amusing.

The bottom line: Ferrell's primal-scream shtick should be perfect for a comedy about the timely subject of enraged sports parents. But when Phil finally cuts loose and bellows at boys, the humor comes too little too late — Phil even apologizes for behavior that's the movie's selling point.


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Recent Comments

  • Re: Fresh air

    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

    • on June 29, 2016
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