Whenever I sit down to watch a DVD of an actor that I like and it happens to be a kids movie, there is cause for concern. A lot of times when movies come out and are catering to a wider range of audiences, it can be a catastrophe. By catastrophe I am not talking about commercial success, necessarily. I just mean that I, as a 26-year-old viewer, might not find the more kid-oriented flick as entertaining.
It is with this in mind that I sat down to watch Kicking and Screaming starring Will Ferrell. The Will Ferrell that I love is the one from Old School, or Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I want to see Frank the Tank doing beer bongs through a funnel. I want to see him chasing down Jay and Silent Bob as Federal Wildlife Marshal Willenholly. I don’t want to see Will Ferrell with too tight a leash on so that the producers of a movie can get the rating that they need for their target audiences.
In the case of Kicking & Screaming, the balance was good between giving Ferrell the leeway he needed to be funny, while also allowing this to be a PG-rated affair, suitable for families.
Kicking & Screaming is the story of Phil Weston (Ferrell) and his father Buck (Robert Duvall) as opposing soccer coaches in a youth league. The typical bad team gets good and challenges for the championship storyline unfolds, but you knew that was going to happen going into this movie. The real question is whether the movie ended up being entertaining and funny, and I have to say it was.
Ferrell has a verbal slap-stickiness to him where he can say seemingly normal things and his delivery will keep you laughing. He can say something that looks totally stupid on paper, like “I’m angry! I’m spitting angry! I’m like a tornado of anger, swirling about!” and you will almost assuredly be rolling on the floor because of his delivery.
So, while this movie isn’t going to make mature audiences laugh the same as when they are watching Ferrell go streaking through the streets in Old School, it will be a pretty good compromise for a family who wants something that the kids are totally going to love and the parents don’t want to be totally bored.
And Will Ferrell fans, don’t fear this one.
It is way better than A Night at the Roxbury.