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Mr. Woodcock

By Cole Haddon | Posted 9/12/2007

Mr. Woodcock is the heartwarming story of self-help author John Farley (Seann William Scott) who visits his Nebraska hometown, only to discover his mother (Susan Sarandon) is marrying the very man who gave him the low-self esteem he’s spent his life getting over—gym teacher Mr. Woodcock (Billy Bob Thornton). Of course, the normally unflappable Farley is freaked out by the prospect and determines to prevent the nuptials immediately. After all, the ambiguously named Woodcock—is he a cock, sexual beast, or both?—used to whip basketballs at him and his friends, called them creatively insulting names daily, and now, years later, seems to take equal pleasure in making sexual cracks about Farley’s mom to antagonize him. The quick-and-easy assumption here is that, because of Scott’s choice in past roles and Thornton’s affinity for vulgar comedy (think Bad Santa), Mr. Woodcock is just another excuse for both actors to say “fuck” and act obnoxious during the moments they’re not, but director Craig Gillespie insists upon an indie tone and pacing that lends a surprising credibility to this unexpectedly funny comedy.

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