Kicking and Screaming

Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18

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Critic Reviews

  1. There's plenty of wit on the surface, but the pain of paralysis comes through loud and clear.
  2. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    A witty movie -- with a fine ear for the undertone of aimless chatter -- that never raises its voice to make hollow Gen-X proclamations.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    90
    But the writer-director is canny enough to salt the stew with poignance, so that by the end these attitude machines have become human beings -- more than the sum of their chiseled jokes.
  4. Like the stationary figures it portrays, Kicking And Screaming is alive at the edges; it comes with a vibrant border of trenchant asides, tossed-off remarks that blend the solace of protective irony with the sterner stuff of hard truth.
  5. The final affirmation of this romance is really an affirmation of Baumbach's talent: that a young filmmaker fixated on the solipsistic rituals of guyhood understands the hearts of women, too.
  6. 80
    As a writer, Baumbach loves smart, glib talk, and he has a sharp ear for fast-paced, overlapping dialogue; as a director, though, he prefers long takes that allow his characters to work out their feelings.
  7. Baumbach surely does make these characters, all of whom are impeccably acted, absolutely real, but at 25 he may be too close to the material to achieve the detachment from which irony and meaning flow.
  8. 80
    The picture has a lovely, understated autobiographical lilt.
  9. 75
    Kicking and Screaming doesn't have much of a plot, but of course it wouldn't; this is a movie about characters waiting for their plots to begin.
  10. 75
    Scenes move from hurt to resigned laughter and ring poignantly true. The heroically unfashionable result is a minor but distinct pleasure.
  11. Written and directed by newcomer Noah Baumbach with an excellent ear for absurdity and a keen eye for the offhand realities of everyday life in a den of unmitigated slack.
  12. The film succeeds in finding something sweetly romantic and visually fresh in Grover's flashback memories of Jane, along with allowing Grover plenty of room for wisecracks.
  13. Reviewed by: Greg Evans
    70
    The director is more successful in setting an easy, low-key tone, with nicely framed shots and subtle camera movements downplaying the script's pretensions.
  14. It’s a nice debut piece for director Baumbach, despite the film’s reliance on the twentysomething blues formula.
  15. 63
    We've seen this story so many times that it's starting to wear thin. In many ways, Kicking and Screaming is mildly enjoyable, but all it really does is go over old ground with new characters.
  16. First-time director Noah Baumbach seems to have learned everything he knows about the world from MTV, and his style suggests that he's taken a lot of notes at Whit Stillman and Hal Hartley pictures.
  17. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    50
    Moviegoers of rarefied sensibilities will easily identify this anti-captain-of-industry as a "typical Eric Stoltz role," just as moviegoers of extremely rarefied sensibilities will pick up on Kicking's "typical Chris Eigeman role." [23 Oct 1995, Pg.06.D]
  18. Baumbach is obviously a bright man, but this material is too thin for anything more than a slight New Yorker short story about thoughtful screw-ups.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. EricO.
    Dec 13, 2006
    10
    I just love this film. Witty, brainy, full of heart. What a wonderful achievement.
  2. PatrickL.
    Oct 9, 2006
    10
    Best movie ever. Watch it over and over again!!
  3. JosephK.
    Aug 22, 2006
    10
    Classic movie, just released on DVD.