Does Kicking & Screaming contain Will Ferrell’s most durable performance? I think so. I’ve been watching this film for the past 15 years and I laugh harder each time. Kicking & Screaming is technically a kids/sports film, but it specializes in comedy. Ferrell plays Phil Weston and Duvall plays his dad, Buck. Buck has another son with his second wife that is the same age as Phil’s son. Some shit happens and their sons' soccer teams are on a straight up collision course throughout an entire pee wee season.
Phil isn’t very good at sports or coaching them, so he recruits his dad's neighbor, Mike Ditka, to help him out. Buck and Ditka hate each other, so that stirs the pot up nicely. As the team starts piling up wins under new supervision, Phil becomes obsessed with winning in an unhealthy way that involves a shit ton of coffee. It’s a pretty easy storyline to catch onto and predict, but the journey is so damn funny.
I truly think Will Ferrell did his best work right here in Kicking & Screaming. He’s sort of limited with the PG rating, but this film is timeless and Ferrell is just locked in. Some of the best quotes come from his players, but he is the anchor at all times. Duvall and Ditka are grown ass men who provide unforgettable performances in this kids' film. There are some really great cameos throughout including Rob Benedict as the cafe employee, Martin Starr as the cafe customer, David Herman as the ref, Tom Virtue as Phil’s track coach, and Steven Anthony Lawrence as one of Phil and Ditka’s players. Kicking & Screaming works like a well-oiled machine, causing it to be endlessly rewatchable.