Mr Woodcock (12A)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner28/09/2007

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 87 mins

Mr Woodcock is never less than watchable, thanks to strong performances and some amusing dialogue, but it's badly let down by a disappointingly weak plot.

What's it all about?
Victimised by his sadistic high school PE teacher Mr Woodcock (Billy Bob Thornton), chubby kid John Farley (Seann William Scott) grows up into a bestselling self-help author, channelling his traumatic school life into a book called Letting Go: Getting Past Your Past. When his home town decide to award him the prestigious Corn Cob Key he pays a surprise visit to his mother (Susan Sarandon) and is horrified to discover that she's dating Mr Woodcock.

Confronted with his high school nemesis, John finds all the painful memories flooding back, making a mockery of his book in the process. And when his mother accepts Woodcock's proposal, John decides to split them up, so he recruits fellow Woodcock victim Nedderman (Ethan Suplee) to help him.

The Good
There are several funny scenes here, but the laughs stem primarily from the amusing dialogue, e.g. Woodcock telling John, You must like getting spanked, Farley – I guess it runs in the family. Thornton's as good as you'd expect, given that he's essentially played this character about four times now, while Scott makes an extremely likeable straight man.

The supporting cast are even better: Amy Poehler steals every scene as John's manic publicist, while Sarandon is perfectly cast as (ahem) Stifler's Mom and Ethan Suplee gets several laughs as Nedderman.

The Bad
The main problem is that the plot is badly thought-out, as if the scriptwriters couldn't be bothered to come up with anything beyond the initial concept and a couple of good lines. As a result, the abrupt ending is deeply unsatisfying.

Worth seeing?
In the right hands, Mr Woodcock could have been a cathartic revenge comedy for anyone who'd ever been bullied by their PE teacher. Instead, it delivers a few good laughs but it's frustratingly underwritten and ultimately disappointing.

Film Trailer

Mr Woodcock (12A)
Mr Woodcock has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 11:59

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