Kicking & Screaming

  • Review Date: October 10, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 87 minutes

Common Sense Media says

This sometimes-obnoxious comedy is no Elf.
  • Review Date: October 10, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 87 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Adults coaches obsess about winning until one learns his lesson. More tedious than strictly offensive.

Violence & scariness

Kids' soccer games and physical comedy (punches and kicks).

Sexy stuff

Older man married to younger woman, some suggestive leers.


Some rude language and crude humor.


Designer coffee shops, discussions of marketing (sporting goods especially, the grandfather's business).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink in a bar, and one sneaks vodka in a coffee mug.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this PG movie includes repeated scenes of physical violence against children. Though this is staged as humor -- specifically, a function of the immaturity and insecurity of perpetrators Phil (Will Ferrell) and his father Buck (Robert Duvall) -- it's also annoying and even startling (Phil kicks his own 10-year-old son, Buck pushes another child into a pool). The soccer game scenes are mostly fun, but do include a few rough action sequences. A couple of characters are slapped, punched, and kneed in the groin, adults smoke and drink (Phil becomes addicted to coffee, and very jittery). In one scene, the kids' team emerges from a van covered in blood (following an afternoon chopping meat in a butcher's shop), and so intimidate their opponents into forfeiting the game. Phil instructs his team members to bay at the moon like dogs. One child on the team has lesbian parents, who make Phil nervous, though he does his best to be "correct."

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

A poor athlete as a child, Phil (Will Ferrell) was traumatized by his dictatorial father Buck, a hypercompetitive sporting goods salesman. A vitamin salesman as an adult, Phil can't win his father's respect. Phil's decision to coach the Tigers, his son Sam's (Dylan McLaughlin) little league soccer team, puts him into direct competition with Buck, who coaches the rival Gladiators (which includes Buck's own 10-year-old son, Bucky [Josh Hutcherson], born to a second, sexy, young wife after Phil's mom divorced Buck). Though Phil's wife Barbara (Kate Walsh) does her best to help him keep the season in perspective, he devotes himself wholly to beating his father. Phil enlists the help of Mike Ditka (playing himself, smoking cigars, and apparently just as glad that he didn't run for Senator from Illinois), who in turn finds two Italian boys -- Gian Piero (Francesco Liotti) and Massimo (Alessandro Ruggiero). The Tigers begin to win, leading them at last to the championship match with the Gladiators.

Is it any good?


KICKING AND SCREAMING is essentially a series of annoying episodes that are disconnected and obnoxious. Phil is one of Ferrell's characters in which the immaturity isn't outweighed by his natural appeal, and the film ends up feeling clunky and, frankly, unfunny.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the basic lesson it offers: that playing fairly and having fun are more important than winning. Though the movie spends more time on the cheating and excessive investment in competing, you might talk about how kids can play games to practice skills and enjoy each other's company. The film also demonstrates the lingering effects of an emotionally abusive parent, so you might discuss the best ways parents and children can communicate needs, praise, and affection. As well, the presence of adopted child Byong Sun (Elliott Cho) might encourage discussion of how you define families.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 13, 2005
DVD release date:October 11, 2005
Cast:Kate Walsh, Robert Duvall, Will Ferrell
Director:Jesse Dylan
Studio:Universal Pictures
Topics:Sports and martial arts, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:87 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic elements, language and some crude humor

This review of Kicking & Screaming was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


A great soccer/football movie with loads of "Old School" comedy
Kid, 9 years old March 22, 2009

kicking and screaming review by critic07

I thougt it was a hillarious laugh out loud comedy. I would recommend it if you like will ferell or robert duvall. Has tones of crude humor and a good moral: winning is not everything. A great family comedy tha has only one bad word where a kid tackles will ferell and screams "thats like a jackle from hell!"
What other families should know
Too much swearing


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