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PCR # 268  (Vol. 6, No. 19)  This edition is for the week of May 9--15, 2005.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Kicking and Screaming"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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 by William Moriaty
"Kicking and Screaming"
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"War is Over (if you want it)....Kiss Me Violent....Morpheus (the software, not the dude)....A Final Note
 by Vinnie Blesi
"Kingdom of Heaven"...Rann-Thanagar War
 by John Lewis
U.S. Airogance....Famous Monsters Update
 by Matt Drinnenberg
An Army of One....Superheroes Unite....Passing On....Jaws: The Story, Part 18
 by Mike Smith
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Starring: Will Ferrell, Robert Duval and Mike Ditka
Directed by: Jesse Dylan
Rated: PG
Running Time: 1 hour 45 mins

This will be my 10th year coaching baseball. I mention that because over those years I've seen plenty of parents. 99% of them were great, but there was always that 1% that always seemed to be in competition with their kids, no matter what the situation. And that competition pretty much sums up the story behind "Kicking and Screaming."

Phil (Ferrell) has always tried to make his father, Buck (Duval) proud. But no matter what he did, no matter how hard he tried, it was never good enough. Phil isn't happy that his dad is coaching his son's soccer team. Phil confronts Buck to ask why the boy isn't playing. Buck tells Phil not to worry and soon Phil learns that Buck has traded his own grandson to the worse soccer team in the league. In fact, the team is so bad that the coach never showed up for the second game of the season. Hoping to show his son the proper sportsmanlike etiquette, Phil agrees to take over the team. However, he soon finds himself breaking his own rules as the competition between his dad grows greater.

I don't know exactly what Will Ferrell has, but he certainly has IT. Whether it's the lead in films like "ELF" and "Anchorman," or his cameos in the first two "Austin Powers" films or last years' "Starsky and Hutch," the man knows how to bring a smile to your face and a laugh to your lips. He is a natural slapstick comedian and it shows. Calm Phil is a vitamin salesman who abstains from stimulants like coffee. Hectic Phil gets himself banned from the neighborhood coffee house and sucks on an espresso machine like it was a hookah! With this film and next month's "Bewitched" Ferrell could easily be the comedy highlight of the summer. Duval is just as good as the hard headed Buck. A natural competitor, Buck sees nothing wrong with challenging an adult Phil to a game of tetherball to see who is better. The surprise comedic stand out here is former NFL coach Mike Ditka. Ditka has the same competitive drive as his next door neighbor, Buck, but he knows how to harness it. When Phil asks him to be his assistant coach, Ditka agrees, even though the kids on the team don't know who he is. Ditka is such a natural that he almost steals the film.

Before their tetherball game Buck says to Phil, "A son can never beat his old man at anything. That's the law." Well, as a father whose son broke that law during a game of one on one basketball at the age of 13, I know that isn't true. But it's nice to think it is. On a scale of zero to four stars I give "Kicking and Screaming"  Three stars

This week's movie review of "Kicking and Screaming" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2005, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.