Mr. Woodcock is a 2007 sports comedy film directed by Craig Gillespie, and starring Seann William Scott, Billy Bob Thornton, Susan Sarandon, Amy Poehler, and Ethan Suplee. The film was released on September 14, 2007.
John Farley (Seann William Scott) is a successful self-help author who returns to his hometown in Nebraska to receive an award. Farley arrives at home and learns that his widowed mother Beverly (Susan Sarandon) is dating his former Physical Education teacher Jasper Woodcock (Billy Bob Thornton). Farley disapproves of the relationship because he remembers Woodcock as an abusive bully.
Woodcock and Beverly become engaged and the majority of the film centers on Farley's attempts to convince his mother to break off the relationship. Farley becomes increasingly obsessed with beating Woodcock at various competitions and with proving that Woodcock is not a suitable mate for Beverly. Farley's antics are so childish and extreme that his new love interest Tracy (Melissa Sagemiller), a former classmate, refuses to see him again.
Farley is set to receive his award at the same ceremony where Woodcock will be presented with an award for "Educator of the Year." Woodcock receives his award first and is praised by numerous members of the community for being a great teacher and influence on children. Farley is unconvinced and devotes his entire acceptance speech to explaining why Woodcock is the "biggest asshole on the planet." Woodcock and various crowd members refute Farley's points, and Woodcock then challenges Farley to a fight. Beverly witnesses the confrontation and dumps Woodcock.
The next day, Farley has a heart-to-heart conversation with his mother, who tells him that he is selfish and has always sabotaged her relationships with men after his father's death. Farley realizes she is correct and attempts to apologize to Woodcock. The two have a final exorcising fight, which leads to Woodcock suffering a concussion. Farley and Beverly visit Woodcock in the hospital and all three seemingly make peace. Farley declares that the key to life is not "getting past your past" but instead learning to embrace your past. He opines that Woodcock's vicious treatment in gym class helped him become the man he is today.
The film ends with several short scenes cut into the final credits. These scenes reveal that Woodcock and Beverly got married, Farley was reunited with Tracy, and Farley wrote a second book entitled Backbone: The Definite Guide to Self Confidence.Billy Bob Thornton as Jasper Woodcock
Seann William Scott as John Farley
Susan Sarandon as Beverly Farley
Ethan Suplee as Nedderman
Amy Poehler as Maggie Hoffman
Melissa Sagemiller as Tracy Detweiller
Bill Macy as Mr. Woodcock's father
Tyra Banks as Herself
Kyley Baldridge as Young John Farley
Alec George as Young Nedderman
Melissa Leo as Sally Jansen
Jennifer Aspen as Cindy
Allisyn Ashley Arm as Scout Girl
M.C. Gainey as Hal the Barber
Mr. Woodcock received generally unfavorable reviews, and currently holds a 13% "Rotten" score, based on 109 reviews, on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes; the site's consensus states, "Underutilizing a talented cast, Mr. Woodcock lacks the comic energy and timing to make the most of its intriguing premise." On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 41%, based on 25 reviews.
Although the film was panned by most critics, Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars in his review.
In a 2009 interview on The Opie & Anthony Show, Scott said that he and Thornton spent time on set discussing how terrible the movie was. Scott said "there's nothing worse than going to a movie set knowing that [the film] could end my career."
The Blu-ray Disc and DVD were released on January 15, 2008. The HD DVD version of the movie was scheduled to be released shortly after the Blu-ray version, but Warner Bros./New Line's decision to exclusively support Blu-ray led to the cancellation of all New Line HD DVD titles (along with all Warner Bros. HD DVD titles after May 2008).