Mr Woodcock Review

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After taking P.E. with the merciless Mr Woodcock (Thornton), John Farley (Scott) has grown up to become the author of a bestselling self-help book. His hometown are giving him a civic honour, but when he arrives he finds his beloved Mum (Sarandon) dating guess who...


This is a surprising choice of second film from director Craig Gillespie. A lukewarm, by-the-numbers comedy, Mr Woodcock couldn’t be more different from his thoroughly indie debut, Lars And The Real Girl (yet to be seen in the UK). Apart from gaining an inroad to mainstream Hollywood, it’s difficult to see why he went to the effort.

This is the sort of film that coasts by on B- scores from undemanding test audiences, and piles nearly all its best laughs into the trailer. But despite the sterling efforts of the cast (all of whom are better than the flat material), it fails to raise more than the occasional chuckle. Billy Bob Thornton must be torn now between being the best surly hard-ass in the business, and being typecast forevermore.

It’s not the worst film you’ll see all year, but it’s not going to wind up on anyone’s honour roll, either. To the agents of all involved: must try harder.