Kicking & Screaming Movie Poster Image

Kicking & Screaming



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.

Positive role models

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.

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."

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

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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; OK 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, 13 years old Written byBestPicture1996 September 25, 2009

Is it a good Ferrel comedy?

How to's worse than "Elf," but certainly better then "Semi-Pro." Its message is sometimes confusing, but it's an all-together amusing movie about kids playing soccer, a little similar to "The Big Green." It has its good and bad parts.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old June 5, 2009

Good... but bad in some ways!

really good but some smoking and launguage.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008


A great soccer/football movie with loads of "Old School" comedy


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