Directed by Jesse Dylan, starring Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall, Mike Ditka, Kate Walsh, Dylan McLaughlin and Josh Hutcherson.
Vitamin salesman Phil (Ferrell) has spent his life in the shadow of his competitive dad Buck (Duvall) who coaches the winning U-10 soccer team the Gladiators in between strangely trying to trump Phil's life.
When Buck trades his grandson to the bottom league team, the Tigers, Phil is reminded of when Buck demoted him to bench warmer when he was a kid.
He vows to take him on by coaching the ensemble of soccer rejects, with the film then dribbling through some sports movie clichés to the inevitable showdown between the two teams.
In order to get to the final Phil enlists the help of his dad's rival, who happens to be real life former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka. Ditka is splendid playing himself in a chewing gum-chomping lengthy cameo, with two young protégés from his local Italian deli lifting the morale of the flagging Tigers with some nimble footwork.
'Kicking and Screaming' does not trade in understatement and when Phil develops a caffeine habit and what looks like full blown schizophrenia (only an American film could get away with equating caffeine with hard drugs) he turns into a 'winning is everything' monster who encourages the kids to play dirty when the ref takes his eye off the ball.
Ferrell has been busy since leaving 'Saturday Night Live' in the US in 2002, with parts in 'Old School', 'Anchorman' and 'Elf', and a break from the comic norm in Woody Allen's 'Melinda and Melinda'. If you have taken an immense dislike to him, keep away from 'Kicking and Screaming' as this is a Ferrell road show; if you are a fan he won't disappoint, though at times he plunges into manic Jim Carey mode.
From the director of 'American Wedding', Jesse Dylan (son of Bob - why don't rock stars offspring never end up as accountants?!) adequately delivers the father vs son and underdog-gets-his-day themes, though at times with repetitive comic timing.
Overall it's an entertaining family film, with more than a few decent laughs. The kids will be sure to lap up all the cuteness and morals and the parents won't be quite kicking and screaming to get out, so on its own terms a success then.