Kicking and Screaming
After Melinda and Melinda, this drab soccer comedy makes two Will Ferrell clunkers in a row. While Ferrell gave one of his worst performances yet in Melinda (a very bad Woody Allen impersonation), he almost saves this run-of-the-mill picture from the scrap heap. As a put-upon son trying to impress his father (Robert Duvall), he winds up coaching his son’s soccer team, leading him to the playoffs and a showdown against his highly competitive father’s team. There are moments of comic inspiration. Ferrell picks the real Mike Ditka as his assistant coach (Ditka hates his dad) and eventually reduces Ditka to the role of “Juice-box boy” in a fit of rage. However, too much of the film is dedicated to the same old, ragtag team-gets-good format that’s been done a million times before. Ferrell has many movies in the pipeline, so it’s a fair bet that he’ll get back on track somewhere along the way.