The film was released on May 13, 2005, received mixed reviews and grossed $56 million worldwide.
Phil Weston (Will Ferrell), is an average person who had to endure his father Buck Weston's (Robert Duvall) over-competitiveness throughout his childhood, an upbringing which has left permanent mental scars. Now middle-aged and married, with a young son named Sam, Phil runs a small vitamin store, while Buck operates a local chain of sports stores.
Buck is coach of the Gladiators, the most successful little-league soccer team in the district. Sam is on Buck's soccer team, but to his dad's annoyance his grandfather keeps him on the bench, a humiliation he also visited upon his son decades prior. Buck eventually transfers Sam to the Tigers, the league's worst team.
At Sam's first game with his new team their coach is absent. Rather than forfeit, Phil decides to coach the team, a position he takes up permanently. However, despite Phil's best efforts the team does not seem to improve. In desperation Phil recruits Mike Ditka (played by himself), who is Buck's neighbor and hated enemy. Enticed by the opportunity to beat Buck, Ditka accepts the position. Despite grueling training, the team continues to lose.
Ditka introduces Phil to two exceptionally talented Italian boys working in a local butcher's shop. Phil succeeds in gaining their Uncle's permission for them to play for the Tigers. They have an immediate impact, scoring repeatedly. The resulting winning streak makes them serious contenders in the league. After finally winning a couple of games and Phil said that his team was going to go to the finals, Phil and Buck make a bet, if the Gladiators win then Phil would sell his store and work for Buck. If the Tigers win then Buck would hand over his most prized possession, 'The Pelé Ball', a soccer ball struck by the famous player which Phil caught as a child and Buck took from him.
Meanwhile, Ditka also introduces Phil to coffee, which rapidly changes him from a mild-mannered caring dad, to an obnoxious, over-competitive coach, not that different from his father, abusing kids and parents alike. The team's mantra becomes "Get the ball to the Italians", which, though effective, demoralizes his team. In the ultimate over-competitive act he benches his own son for the entire semi-final game.
The Tigers make it to the finals where they face off against the Gladiators. At half-time, the score is two-one to the Gladiators. In a heart-to-heart discussion with his son, Phil realizes the error of his ways. He tells his team to do exactly the opposite of what he taught them. Although the Gladiators score one more goal after half-time, they don't give up hope. Phil gives the goalie a vision test with glasses from the crowd. From there, Ambrose scores one goal—making the score three-two. After another goal, the score is tied. The team rallies and produces a spectacular team performance to win 4-3, with Sam scoring the winning goal against his uncle Bucky (Josh Hutcherson), (Buck's child who was born on the exact day as Sam) using a move that he practiced when his dad benched him in the semi-finals.
Honoring the bet, Buck tries to give Phil the ball, but Phil refuses. Making peace with his father, they merge their businesses, realizing there is more to life than winning.
The film ends with an adapted version of the "He's Got Balls" commercial originally produced by Buck. In it, the entire Tigers team appear, announcing the merger of Phil's vitamin shop—Phil's Pills—and Buck's Sporting Goods Store. The team shouts, after the "He's got balls" line, "And vitamins."
Closing credits are set to a cover The Beatles song We Can Work It Out.Will Ferrell as Phil Weston
Robert Duvall as Buck Weston
Mike Ditka as Himself
Kate Walsh as Barbara Weston
Dylan McLaughlin as Sam Weston
Josh Hutcherson as Bucky Weston
Musetta Vander as Janice Weston
Steven Anthony Lawrence as Mark Avery
Francesco Liotti as Gianpiero
Alessandro Ruggiero as Massimo
Elliott Cho as Byong Sun Hogan-Jones
David Herman as Referee
Rachael Harris as Ann Hogan
Dallas McKinney as Connor (Goalie)
Peter Jason as Clark
Randall May as Cornell Soccer consultant( uncredited)
Phill Lewis as John Ryan
Karly Rothenberg as Jack's Mom
Alex Borstein as Obnoxious Hummer Lady (uncredited)
Jeremy Bergman as Hunter Davidson
Erik Walker as Ambrose Hanna
Laura Kightlinger as Donna Jones
Sammy Fine as Jack Watson
Timmy Deters as Alex
Joseph R. Sicari as Umberto
Stephen Rudrick as Young Ceeb
Stasi Glenn as Butcher shop employee
Martin Starr as Beantown customer
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 41% based on 138 reviews, and an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The script is mediocre and fails to give Ferrell a proper comedic showcase." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film holds a score of 45 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert gave the film 3/4 stars, saying that it was "an entertaining family movie". David Palmer gave the film 3.5/5 stars, saying that Ferrell and the film were much funnier than "a PG-rated kids film has any right being".
The film grossed $20.2 million in its opening weekend, finishing in 2nd place behind fellow newcomer Monster-in-Law ($23.1 million).
Kicking and Screaming earned $52.8 million in the U.S. and Canada, and $3.2 million in other territories for a worldwide total $56.1 million, against a production budget of $45 million.<red name=BOM/>Will Ferrell nominated for Worst Actor (also for Bewitched)
Choice Movie, Actor: Ferrell nominated for Comedy (also for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy)
Choice Movie, Hissy Fit: Ferrell
2005: Choice Movie Sleazebag: Ferrell