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Monday, May 27, 2024

"Mr. Woodcock" is a textbook example of the preview showing all the funny parts of a movie. After an hour and a half, I can safely say there was only one scene not revealed in the previews worthy of a laugh. That's it. Only one. The rest of the film plods along with all the enthusiasm of a mollusk.

"Mr. Woodcock" is the kind of movie that was written on the back of a bar napkin during a high school reunion. It feeds the desire to "get back" at previous authority figures who have wronged us in the past. The story is about John Farley (played by Seann William Scott, or as he's know to our generation, Stifler from "American Pie"), a successful self-help writer who is invited to receive an award in his hometown. When he gets back, he discovers that his mom, the always wonderful Susan Sarandon, is dating his old gym teacher, Mr. Woodcock (Billy Bob Thorton).

This plot has all the makings of a short film or one episode of a sitcom. It does not work for a feature-length film. The jokes are spread too far apart and the schmaltzy morals toward the end pitifully diminish what little comic value there was to begin with. The best/funniest part of the film is when Mr. Woodcock torments the children in his class. Thorton delivers his lines in a perfect deadpan that is difficult not to laugh at. However, this sequence only lasts about five minutes and is at the very beginning of the film. Really, you could walk out of the theater after 10 minutes and not have missed much.

Perhaps the most pointless part of this pointless movie was the love interest, Tracy, played by Melissa Sagemiller. Why is she even in this movie? She adds no depth to the primary characters, no development to the plot and, the worst sin of all, no comedy to a comedy.

If, at the end of the day, you're looking for a bland, uninteresting, uninspired movie about getting even with your gym teacher, then see "Mr. Woodcock." But then again, if this is what you're looking for in a movie, perhaps you need to get out more.

Rating: 5/10

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