I have found that comedies, even the good ones, have become so utterly predictable, that it’s not even funny. Pun intended. The good comedies are even predictable, and the mediocre ones are so predictable that I’ve discovered I can really lay out what’s going to happen before it happens. “Kicking and Screaming” begins on a truly predictable note. Narration. Instead of leaving our main character to pretty much show the audience how inept or stupid he is the writers feel that the actor and director are so incompetent of explaining through actions what and who they are, that they must explain to us through narration.
“Here’s who I am, here’s my situations, here’s what I do, now watch the movie and pretend you’re in suspense of what I’ll do even though I’ve already spelled it out for you.” Of course, I have to ask, how can you expect the audience to enjoy a comedy when its main character is so utterly unlikable? Many Comedies have sported despicable or sleazy characters, but the main character here is unlikable, and you’ll find your allegiances split with Duvall’s character, and you won’t even realize it when the film is over. Will Ferrell is sadly one of the many alums from SNL who had the chance to really become the next comedy legend, and failed big time.
He failed because he felt starring in underwhelming unfunny comedies would garner much praise. And he’s wrong. And I’ve yet to find a film from him that made me laugh out loud. “Kicking and Screaming” is not really comedy, more of a tragedy of a loser, and on some occasions, the writer seems to try and build a comedy around it, and it never translates to the audience. There’s a scene where Phil is talking in front of people explaining what happened to the old coach before him and the audience breaks into laughter, and Phil replies “I don’t know why that’s funny”, which would sum up what this is about.
Phil is a loser, his wife is put upon, his father is a prick, and everyone else is basically just petty and truly one-dimensional, and you wonder “Why is that funny?” Why is Joely Fisher’s character even with Phil? Why do we have to be subjected to another “Bad News Bears” clone just to give Will Ferrell an excuse to act? Is this all there is to Ferrell’s career? Mediocre comedies, and wasted talent? Ferrell, you should really re-consider your agent’s power. How about firing him? After “Bewitched”, “Old School”, and “Starsky and Hutch”, I wonder where that demented nutcase from “Saturday Night Live” went. Now there’s just you. Playing the same character in unfunny comedies like this.