Kicking and Screaming (1995)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
Inspired by the advent of Seattle's grunge music sound and popular films such as Slacker (1991) and Singles (1992), the Generation X comedy-drama was born. Typified by characters in their early twenties sharing an abundance of education, a lack of career direction, stunted romantic aspirations and an obsession with popular culture, one of the better examples of the genre was Kicking and Screaming. Josh Hamilton stars as Grover, a recent college graduate and aspiring writer depressed over the departure of his girlfriend Jane (Olivia d'Abo) for a fellowship in Prague. Josh's best friends are in a similar predicament. Skippy (Jason Wiles) is a classic slacker couch potato still attending classes despite having graduated, while the philosophical Max (Chris Eigeman) and Otis (Carlos Jacott), a mechanical engineer, both remain unemployed. Tenth-year student Chet (Eric Stoltz), who works at a local bar and has still not finished his education, serves as a cautionary tale for the four unmotivated pals. Kicking and Screaming was the debut of writer and director Noah Baumbach and the first of several cinematic collaborations between him and actors Eigeman and Stoltz. … More
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Critic Reviews for Kicking and Screaming
First-time writer and director Noah Baumbach, 25, has a knack for acute observation and a spirited cast to animate every twisted nuance.
Baumbach ... pushes his rigorous stance to the extent that you begin to wonder why you're bothering to watch the aimless lives of these four unfold.
In general, Baumbach's eye for generational detail is impeccable -- he knows what's on these kids' minds, and has found a language to express it.
Writer-director Noel Baumbach establishes an ear for commentary during his wry-guy movie's opening graduation party.
Audience Reviews for Kicking and Screaming
A very opinionated by empty and aimless bore concerning recent college graduates struggling to find their place in the world, and how their lives change over the course of a few months. Noah Baumbach, one of the kings of awkward/anti-social world, has put together a below average "comedy" that is not very funny, with characters that are not very likable, and with a plot that has no problem being about nothing. Unlike "The Squid and the Whale" which had a pretty good sense of humor despite taking itself a little too seriously, the biggest thing with this film is that it is just flat-out not funny or meaningful. I could not care less about the selfish, quirky for quirks sake characters that spouted dialogue that seemed from another planet, and as a result this movie lost me quickly. It is not terrible, it just is not very good.
The very underrated hilarious debut from Noah Baumkbach has perhaps the most qoutable lines of any movie I've seen and features great performances from Christopher Eigeman, Carlos Jacott and a supporting role from Elliot Gould.
For what's it worth, I truly believe in Gen X comedy-dramas. Even if you didn't fully enjoy this period in history, the quirky characters and realistic underlying problems of these films' central protagonists are shockingly familiar. Whether Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" or James Joyce's "The Dead" every art form has beleaguered to show us that our futures, more likely our destinies, are under our own control and not that of extenuating circumstances. We all fear failure in the future, but Baumbach also delves into the psyches of several different archetypes, including: the infinite student, wanting to learn but lacking direction, the genius who works blue collar because he fears success, and the slacker who still slacks though staying in school so he doesn't have to face life. This film is one big denial trip down a memory lane no one wants to know or live through. Each of the main character's relationships are these hypereducated rants to one another over who can be more of a hipster chic intellectual, who can obsess over the idiosyncrasies and affectations of an entire generation of hypochondriacs and windbags, quite frankly. The film makes fun of itself often, and points out the flaws of the college elite, when the entire culmination of our hard earned education is wasted on people who lack direction, who serve themselves with things, and people, and ideas they don't need, lying about without hope or purpose. Some may not revel in the true entertainment of eccentricities, but the droll humor and actual message are worth the short watch.
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