Kicking and Screaming
All his life Phil Weston has dreamed of being on a winning team. Phil... your time has come.
Steven Anthony Lawrence
Running Time: 95 minutes
US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG
Country: United States
Something very peculiar is happening in America at the moment. Kids all over the country are actually kicking balls instead of trying to pick them up and throw them, and at time of writing the country has an international football team ranked at an impressive 6th place in the world. After all these years, could it really be that the US is finally catching up with the rest of the planet?
Okay, so they still annoyingly refer to the beautiful game as soccer, and they probably call the goal the score bag or something daft like that but theres little denying that the States are falling more and more in love with the sport all the time. And, if Kicking & Screaming is anything to go by, it seems those pesky yanks are also discovering that the one thing a love of football inevitably brings with it is the dodgy football movie.
This half-heartedly promoted little summer flick tells the tale of Phil Weston (Will Ferrell), a suburban Chicago worrywart who lives perennially in the shadow of dad Buck (Robert Duvall). Born-winner Buck coaches a local kiddies footy team, and takes the whole thing so seriously that even grandson Sam (Dylan McLaughlin) is left warming the subbies bench. Phil gets the chance to finally put one over on the old man when he takes on coaching duties at a rival team but can he guide them to victory without letting the job go to his head? Thankfully otherwise it would be a very dull film the answer to that one is no.
Aimed predominantly at the younger age of the kiddy market, its obvious here that very little effort has been put into coming up with an original story or screenplay. A huge debt of thanks, then, is owed by someone to Will Ferrell. Its Ferrell alone whose wonderful ad-libbing and general comic ability lift the film above the average and provide it with some extremely funny laugh-out-loud moments. Given the guys sheer volume of work at the moment (by the end of 2006 hell have appeared in TEN movies in two years) I expect to become pretty darn fed-up of the sight of Mr Ferrell before too long. Im happy to say, however, that Im not there yet.
It's Got: A caffeine-reliant sub-plot.
It Needs: To explain where the mysterious commentary is coming from during the requisite final match.
Alternatives:The Mighty Ducks
It takes a great display from Will Ferrell to rescue this well-meaning but uninspired football-flick. Its a save any great goalkeeper would be proud of.