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1,430 Ratings

Kicking and Screaming

Directed by Noah Baumbach
United States, 1995
Comedy, Drama, Romance


Paralyzed by postgraduation ennui, a group of college friends remain on campus, patching together a community for themselves in order to deny the real-world futures awaiting them in Academy Award–nominated screenwriter Noah Baumbach’s hilarious and touching directorial debut.

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Kicking and Screaming Directed by Noah Baumbach
Without the guilelessness of Before Sunrise, Baumbach’s film uses its cultural references in a more pointedly sardonic manner. Whereas there’s something indescribably beautiful about Céline and Jessie’s stabs at defining themselves, in the far more self-critical Kicking and Screaming, the characters’ literary allusions (to Kundera, to Kafka, to Plato and Aristotle) reflect little more than their need to impose their intellect on others.
September 24, 2012
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That dynamic—between a writer writing what he knows and an audience seeing itself on the screen—can lead to insufferable movies. But Baumbach avoids self-indulgent banality by steering clear of the pandering that torpedoes most generational statements. You get the sense that he’s only trying to realize what’s in his head, not what he thinks we’d like to see. His movie doesn’t pretend to dispense truths for its demographic, and it ends up being all the more truthful for it.
September 01, 2006
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Baumbach’s gift for crafting characters out of flesh and blood (such as Eric Stoltz’s perpetual student Chet) gives the film an associative realism, an I-know-these-people familiarity, which helps partially offset their irksomeness. And though his dialogue is often too pleased with its own cleverness, his script’s marriage of the literate and the lowbrow never comes across as excessively contrived…
August 16, 2006
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