Kicking and Screaming (1995)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Manners, Ensemble Film, Romantic Comedy  |   Release Date - Oct 16, 1995 (USA)  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Anyone who has ever gone through four years of college, then wished it would last for at least four more, will find themselves nodding along with Noah Baumbach's highly perceptive Kicking and Screaming. The title gets at four friends' extreme reluctance to move into adulthood, but the film is a lot less zany than the title suggests -- and thankfully, there are very few of the obnoxious stereotypes viewers have come to expect from films dealing with college social life. Instead, it's more of an intellectual cataloguing of these characters' recent experiences, which inescapably dominate their thoughts, since they still live in the town where they just attended college, still mopily haunting the bar where they made so many of the memories from which they must now divorce themselves, just because they've collected that diploma. Perhaps due to the presence of the singular Christopher Eigeman, frequent denizen of the films of Whit Stillman, Kicking and Screaming feels a bit like an homage to that director's work, if a little less maturely scripted. Each character has funny issues to resolve, and there are good performances to that end by Eric Stoltz, Parker Posey, Carlos Jacott, and Jason Wiles. But the backbone of the film is the wistful romance, recalled in flashbacks that appear in reverse chronological order, between Josh Hamilton and Olivia D'Abo. That she chose to go to Prague, forsaking a relationship with Hamilton's Grover, is already known at the outset. This makes their innocent first meeting -- seen only toward the end, with D'Abo decked out preciously in post-adolescent braces -- all the more poignant.