Kicking & Screaming—Universal
Soccer moms have met their match. While it’s one thing to cheer your kids on at every match, Will Ferrell takes the cake in Kicking & Screaming. Phil Weston is a failed jock who assumes the ultimate challenge of coaching his son’s underdog soccer team, the Tigers. To break their losing streak, and to finally beat his overly competitive father, played by Robert Duvall, Weston recruits Hall of Famer Mike Ditka. He winds up with the taste of victory while maintaining the value of humility.
The picture quality is beautiful (anamorphic 2:35.1). Colors are good, and the video is noise-free, with fine detail. The audio is decent, too, with clear dialogue. With the Dolby Digital 5.1, you’d swear Ditka is yelling from right behind you.
Special features include deleted scenes, outtakes (only slightly entertaining), alternate takes, a "Kickin’ It with the Kids" featurette (a good way to meet the kids), "From Rome to Hollywood" (a short documentary on the Italian characters), "Behind the Net: The Making of Kicking & Screaming," and more.
Overall, Kicking & Screaming fares well as a family film, but it still has room for improvement. The underdog concept is overdone in the realm of sporty kid flicks, but it segues nicely into the underlying theme of father/son relationships. Elliott Cho, who plays the small but spunky Byong Sun, practically steals the show from under Ferrell, whose predictable slapstick humor is only slightly redeemed from his occasionally nonsensical jokes. Unless your kids are hard-core Ferrell fans, this one’s a renter.