Film Scouts Reviews

"Kicking and Screaming"

by Kathleen Carroll

Do not let the title, KICKING AND SCREAMING, fool you. There are no karate experts in freshman director Noah Baumbach's wistful but playfully affectionate comedy of 20-something manners. Like Whit Stillman's far wittier "Metropolitan" it's really a conversation piece in which there's a lot of talk and almost no action. For the characters in this case are fresh out of college with absolutely no clue as to what to do next. Their early life crisis has left them so inert that they claim they can't wait until they're retired.

The tall, endearingly goofy Otis, played appealingly by Carolos Jacott, tries to fly off to graduate school. "We just have to walk away from him like mothers in nursery school," says one of his chums after a sad airport farewell scene. Otis balks and he, too, winds up bunking in their new digs next to their old campus.

Olivia d'Abo is charming as the English major who makes a decision to abandon her "helpless" boyfriend to study in "an overvalued country" - the Czech Republic. Elliot Gould makes a brief appearance as a divorced father whose confessions about his current sex life prompts his son to declare "I'm really not ready to accept you as a human being yet." Baumbach definitely knows how to express the current malaise of his generation. His dialogue is fairly amusing but the film falls flat at times. Even so Baumbach can at least be sure he made the right career choice.


Director: Patrick Ruane

An oddly compelling film combining fractured images with a haunting rendition of the song "Danny Boy."


Director: Gregor Jordan

The title proves to be amusing deceptive in this wry Australian comedy that demonstrates one possible cure for depression.

Excerpts from the conversation at the KICKING AND SCREAMING press conference.

Said Carlos Jacott who attended Vassar college with Baumbach. "I think it's finally clear in the end that Otis (the character he played) was, in fact, Kaiser Soze."

Another star of the film, actor Chris Eigeman, gave his impressions of what it was like working with Baumbach whose previous work experience included a few shorts he shot in college. "At first we had to hold his hand a lot but he was very supportive to me during my lapdance scene," said Eigeman with an impish grin.

Baumbach had his own take on the situation. "This was actually my first time on a set," he confessed. "Nobody knew that until now." He also explained his reason for choosing the title. "I've always loved movies like "Blow Up" that have really exciting action titles but that are about slow-moving people," concluded Baumbach.

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