Mr. Woodcock Craig Gillespie

For a comedy that isn’t actually funny, Mr. Woodcock is surprisingly watchable. The humour mostly revolves around awkward and uncomfortable situations that’ll no doubt cause viewers to cringe, but the jokes consistently fall short of actually eliciting laughter. John Farley (Sean William Scott) is a self-help guru who’s helped thousands of people overcome their problems in order to lead happy, fulfilling lives. When his hometown wants to present John with the their highest honour (the Corn Cob Key), he returns home to visit his mother, discovering that she is dating his high school gym teacher, Mr. Woodcock (Billy Bob Thornton), the a man who taunted and demeaned John in his youth. Now, John must work to take his own self-help advice and get over his past issues, but Mr. Woodcock’s adversarial nature won’t make it easy. Billy Bob Thornton has starred in several pictures that revolved around him making fun of children (The Bad News Bears, Bad Santa), and in his previous efforts the dark humour has worked well. Unfortunately, Billy Bob’s shtick falls flat in this film’s high school scenes and the adult rivalry between him and Sean William Scott lacks the necessary chemistry and comic tension to carry the one-note joke for an entire film. The DVD special features are about as amusing as the film, with deleted scenes, a "making of” mini-doc and interviews with the cast and crew talking about their experiences in gym class, along with a dull discussion with an actual high school phys-ed teacher that will have you reaching for the remote. While Mr. Woodcock never meets the criteria of actually being funny, it’s somehow not a bad movie. The movie is like high school gym class: awkward and often painful for anyone who’s not into it. If you really want to remember why you hated high school, you might enjoy Mr. Woodcock. For the rest of the world, just be glad you graduated and leave this disc on the store shelf. (Alliance)