Will Ferrell's "Kicking & Screaming" Problematic, Overacted
- Thursday, May 12, 2005
Okay, maybe if you’re 9 years old, like the kid sitting next to me at the screening. But even he got the “wrong” message from the film – or wait, maybe it was the right one? When I asked him afterwards what he thought the moral of the film was, he said, “Do the opposite of what the coach says!” Good boy! Because that’s exactly what the film teaches. See Phil, who gets addicted to coffee (caffeine), becomes just like his old dad. Although he’s a goody-two-shoes in the beginning, Phil ultimately resorts to underhanded tactics and unsportsmanlike behavior, in the almighty goal of winning the match. But then, just before the end, he realizes he’s been wrong. So his message to the kids: “Forget everything I’ve told you! Do the exact opposite, okay?” And yay, they win! But remember, winning isn’t everything!
First of all, why does winning always have to be portrayed in such a bad light in children’s movies? Do the winners always have to be, mwah-ha-ha!, Satan incarnate? Yes, I want my children to behave admirably on the field, playing honorably and doing their best. No, I do not want crazed “soccer dads” ruining the game for the rest of us. But do we have to throw the cooler out with the Gatorade (lots of placement ads for this, by the way)? I mean, is winning, in and of itself, really that evil in children’s sports? And should every kid – no matter how unskilled or unmotivated – have equal play time, no matter what? And is little league soccer the ACLU’s next judicial terrain?
If all you’re looking for is a film without objectionable content that you can take your kid to see, and you don’t care a whit about the message, this is it (with a few completely gratuitous exceptions). Otherwise, I’d run kicking and screaming out of this one.
- Drugs/Alcohol Content: Several scenes in bars with people drinking; man smokes cigar; coffee that is treated as if it’s a drug.
- Language/Profanity: Three mild obscenities (“hell”).
- Sexual Content/Nudity: Several jokes about father’s sporting goods store, in the form of television commercials where people say, “I’ve (or he’s) got balls!”; ongoing joke about lesbian couple, with main character unsure about how to address the situation, but then praising them for what good parents they are.
- Violence: Wife slaps husband; ball hits man in face, body and groin several times; bad joke about “eating” a kid; and kiddie-style soccer violence throughout.
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