Kicking & Screaming Jesse Dylan

It's almost as though that once the writers found out that Will Ferrell was going to star in their mediocre script they went back and made sure he was in as many frames as possible. Just looking at Will Ferrell is funny, so it's a smart move for Kicking & Screaming to give the comedian ample time on screen because his improvisational skills are pretty much the only worthwhile piece to this soccer puzzle. His father, Buck (Robert Duvall), constantly pushed Phil Weston (Ferrell) into competition when he was younger, and even to this day he finds himself in constant contests with the old man, resulting in his bottled up rage finally exploding. The last straw comes when Buck, who is also a children's soccer coach, trades Phil's son to the worst team in the league, forcing Phil to take control and attempt to take his son's new crew to the top. Given the fact that Phil and Buck are now in competition with each other via coaching duties you can pretty much see where this plot is headed, and chances are you can guess the last half of this film if you've seen even one underdog story. Still, Ferrell thankfully adds oddball spurts to a rather lifeless script with his transformation into a win-hungry monster, which is more than likely fuelled by his newfound coffee addiction, and so Kicking & Screaming is worth at least one viewing. As is the case with most average films this DVD comes pretty hefty, with the extras broken into several pieces, including a small featurette on Francesco Liotti and Alessandro Ruggiero's travel to America from Rome to give life to this film as the super-talented ringers from Italy. The deleted scenes are quite involved and it looks as though some probably took a day's worth of filming in order to get in the can, but the alternate takes are the greatest, as Will Ferrell weaves together some amazing adlibs. There's a look at the training of the children in order to turn them into passable soccer players, but given the fact that most of these kids are either boring or brats makes watching their goofball antics rather annoying. This DVD, along with the film itself, would have faired so much better had it changed gears and focused on an adult audience rather than trying to make a feel-good family film. (Universal)