Mr. Woodcock

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Mr. Woodcock Movie Poster Image
More abusive humor from Billy Bob Thornton.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

A woman's son and fiancé fight constantly, their one-upsmanship mostly icky and childish. Even when they make up, they're competing.

Violence

Mostly abusive slapstick, with Woodcock slamming boys with basketballs and taking a bat to their crotches as an "equipment check." Woodcock beats John with a bat. John falls off a treadmill into a stack of weights and gets a bloody cheek. Nedderman throws a chair at his brother and gives him a black eye. Woodcock and John wrestle, with lots of body slamming and yelling and one hit with a chair.

Sex

Especially obnoxious sexual innuendo for a movie targeted at older tweens and teens: John hides under Woodcock's bed, and then Woodcock and John's mother enter and have noisy sex, with the son beneath and the mattress sagging onto his face. Other visuals include Woodcock making a boy strip to his underpants. John tells his mother that Woodcock "touched me," then says it's not true. John listens to his mother and Woodcock having sex in the next room (moans). A woman says she's a sex addict. And then there's the fact that Woodcock's very name is an innuendo.

Language

Language includes occasional uses of "son of a bitch," "s--t," "a--hole," jackass," "ass," "hell," and "damn." One using of "f-ing" (without the middle part of "f--k"). Lots of obnoxious and deprecating words and phrases, including "fat gelatinous little kids," "little porker," "hicks," and "retard." Some derogatory comments about women and homosexual men as well.

Consumerism

Journey T-shirt, mentions of Oprah and Judge Joe Brown. Tyra Banks appears as herself on her TV show.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

John and Maggie drink in bar; she also smokes cigarettes in a few scenes. On a plane, Maggie tells the stewardess that she wants a regular-sized bottle, as "I'm an alcoholic, not a Barbie doll." Woodcock drinks beer a few times. Woodcock's ex-wife drinks liquor and smokes cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this lowbrow Billy Bob Thornton comedy revolves around an ongoing, immature competition between a woman's adult son and her suitor. In other words, expect lots of slapstick violence and childish behavior. Sexual jokes include the older man bragging about his prowess and sleeping with the young man's mother (in one scene, the younger man hides underneath a bed while his mother and her boyfriend have noisy sex above him). There's some drinking and smoking and plenty of strong language, including "a--hole," "s--t," and derogatory terms describing women and homosexual men.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byeliakira05 April 9, 2008

MUST READ

Awesome funny movie! An instant classic!
Adult Written byG3 April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byKIdX13 April 10, 2009

Dumb, just dumb

My brother was always dying to see this movie, so we both watched it, it just wasn't funny, if you still want to watch it it has some issues: 1. Mr. woodco... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bykummy14 August 13, 2009

good for tweens and early teens

this movie was a pretty bad movie. there are lots of swears and some kissing scenes but it was a movie for tweens and early teens.

What's the story?

Billy Bob Thornton stars as MR. WOODCOCK, a gym teacher pummels little boys with basketballs, tormenting the ones who are overweight, stutter, or have asthma and infusing all of them with lifelong insecurities and nightmares. One freckle-faced victim, Johnny, Seann William Scott appears to have escaped the pattern by adultood. In fact, he's written a best-selling self-help book, Letting Go, that's all about forgetting the past in order to move on. Against the advice of his energetic publicist Maggie (Amy Poehler), he accepts an invitation to go home to small-town Nebraska in order to receive the vaunted "Corn Cob Key." He likes corn, he says -- and besides, he can visit his mom, Beverly (Susan Sarandon). John's triumphant return is cut short when he learns that his mother's new boyfriend is Mr. Woodcock Instantly, the two men kindle a competition: John is determined to make his apparently unsuspecting mother recognize that her suitor is in fact unsuitable, while Woodcock means to prove his superiority one more time. Though John supposedly baggage-free, John falls back into all his old fears and uncertainty around Woodcock. Desperate, John enlists help from another former victim, Nedderman (Ethan Suplee). John also runs into a childhood crush, Tracy (Melissa Sagemiller), but she provides only brief distraction, as he remains obsessively focused on showing up his stepfather to be.

Is it any good?

In another movie, the premise -- how an adult bully affects his victims -- might have been worthy. But here it's only a point of departure for obnoxious humor (lots of insults, along with Woodcock's smackdowns). When you find out that he has an abusive father (who's still being mean from his wheelchair in a retirement home), well, you don't really care. And, really, the most upsetting part of the movie is that Beverly puts up with any of this rudeness and silliness, from either her son or her boyfriend. More than anything, you wish she'd get a ride out of town and start over.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether this kind of movie is funny. Why or why not? Why do so many comedies aimed at teens try to push the envelope with crude, lowbrow humor? Are teens more likely than adults to find it amusing? When does that style of humor cross the line? And who determines where that line falls, anyway?

Movie details

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