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· 96 minutes
Directed by Jesse Dylan
Written by Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick
· Will Ferrell
· Robert Duvall
· Mike Ditka
· Kate Walsh
· Musetta Vander
Will Ferrell is just one of those actors that seems to be everywhere these days. When he's not doing his own movies he's showing up in cameo roles in movies starring in any combination of Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn or either of the Wilson brothers. And nine out of ten times, he's hilarious. Also he's one of the few actors among the group who can do family movies and still be funny. Well, usually anyway. In Kicking & Screaming, he plays Phil Weston, a man who's always been under the shadow of his ultra-competitive father played by Robert Duvall. After finding out his son has been traded off his father's soccer team, and that the coach for the new team has left, Phil takes over the role and gets into coaching the team. Really into it. What follows is your standard underdog kid's sports comedy.
I'm not quite sure where this movie went wrong. Everyone in the movie, from the actors to the director, Jesse Dylan, who previously did How High and American Wedding, and even the writers, Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick, who wrote the scripts for The Santa Clause series and Space Jam, have done good work in the past, so you would think that the combination of all these talents would make for an entertaining family comedy. Alas, it's not the case here, the script has a lack of anything really great and barely anything good. Generally, with kid's sports movie you should have your memorable team of wacky underdogs (see The Sandlot, Bad News Bears, or any of the Mighty Ducks movies). Here they're just random kids, nothing really memorable about any of the kid's performances here, or their characters themselves. As far as the adult characters go, they're merely space filler as well. Will Ferrel can do family movies and still be funny (see Elf, if you haven't already) and Robert Duvall is generally a great actor (see his recent performance in Secondhand Lions), yet here there's no good material for them to play off of and it shows.
There's not really too much entertainment going on with this movie either. At the most I'd say it's one of those movies that would come on TV on a sunday afternoon, and you're bored and there's nothing else on so you watch it. It's not particularly engaging, but it's not the worst movie of all time either. It's just kind of there to kill some time for an hour and a half while you wait for something more amusing to come on. And I'm also seeing this from a kid's perspective of sorts as well. My basic taste as far as humor goes haven't changed really since I was 10. I still laugh at a guy getting hit in the groin by a ball. And even on that level this movie doesn't deliver any goals. Watching it is akin to being walked on by dull cleats.
Please do yourself a favor; don't watch this movie unless you're completely out of other options. There's so much better stuff out there, even in family comedy. Any of the other movies that the cast or crew have done in the past will entertain you a lot more than this movie. Even if you have kids and they want to see the movie, introduce them instead to something more worthy. Maybe something from your childhood. Anything else. Introduce your kids to The Mighty Ducks, or the kids in The Sandlot. Or hell, give them a soccer ball and go play with them out in the yard; you'll be more entertained, and so will they. So, till next time, be sure to keep it reel.