Kicking & Screaming

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Kicking & Screaming Movie Poster Image
This sometimes-obnoxious comedy is no Elf.
  • PG
  • 2005
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 26 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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

Positive Role Models & Representations

Phil kicks his own 10-year-old son; Buck pushes another child into a pool.


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


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.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kicking & Screaming 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."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byFilmBuffDad October 27, 2018

A Mess on and off the Field

The CSM review is spot on! This so-called comedy might have its laughs outnumbered by shockingly poor messages. When Mike Ditka is the moral barometer, you kn... Continue reading
Adult Written byAidan S. April 11, 2015
Teen, 13 years old Written byBatman101 June 28, 2013


This is a VERY FUNNY movie! Highly recommended to those who don't mind a little old-school humor. Super funny with a little bit of adult content, but nothi... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byndrwcd March 21, 2013

you dont have to like soccor in order to like kicking and screaming

I'll admit while it's no elf it still one of will ferrell better movies

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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