Mr. Woodcock – Undersized Humor in a Nice Little Package

Mr. Woodcock is not your everyday comedy, and it surely is not everyone’s cup of tea. I thought I might like it going in, and I was right. I was expecting a slapstick, happy go lucky kind of fun loving romp. It was none of those things in the end, but that ended up being what made it stand out as a movie.

Mr. Woodcock is the P.E. teacher that every kid seems to have had when they were young. Arrogant, angry and constantly looking for reasons to embarrass the kids, Woodcock is the epitome of scary gym teachers everywhere. This part is played to perfection by Billy Bob Thornton, Woodcock is the prototype for a gym teacher that every kid would dread. One of those kids is played by Seann (Stifler) William Scott, and he gets the treatment full on as a child.

The movie then moves into the future where Scott is all grown up and “recovered” from his horrible treatment at the hands of Woodcock. He has become a hot shot self help author, and returns home to receive a small town Nebraska reward. His widowed mother ends up being engaged to Woodcock, and the movie runs with this premise full on.

While the movie is funny, it is in a very dry way rather than the slap stick humor that Seann is known for in his previous movies. His mother is played to perfection by Susan Sarandon, and Thornton does a wonderful job of remaining stoic, which has always been his forte. In spite of this, the movie moves along at a pretty good pace.

It has been a long time since I got to watch a comedy flick where I have laughed out loud, despite the dry humor, and suppressing from doing so at various hilarious scenes with deadpan expressions that make up a fine mixture of humor and mirth inducing fun and the actors have done a fabulous job with their razor sharp comic timing and played their characters to the hilt, be it Woodcock, Stifler, Thorton and others. I hope that it is available on cyberflix and I can enjoy a good time with my family. 

What I like about the movie is the behind the comments humor; those moments where you are pretty sure you heard a joke, but you can’t quite put your finger on what it was. This brand of humor is an acquired taste to be sure, but Woodcock delivers it well. It hearkens back to the old Bob Newhart form of comedy, and it stays with that formula throughout.

The only thing I did not like about the movie was the improbable story. You find yourself questioning the actions of the actors throughout, and they seem forced for humor’s sake throughout the movie. In some ways this is okay, and it does not detract from the fun in the movie, but it does stand out to you when the movie ends.

If you want to see a movie that will make you laugh and think about some uncomfortable moments in middle school, then Mr. Woodcock is your movie. If you are looking for a movie that will keep you laughing out loud throughout with obvious jokes, then Woodcock may not be your cup of tea. Woodcock is not your average comedy, and for this movie watcher that was just fine by me.

I rate this movie a solid 3 out of 5 stars.