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The students of Forest Meadow Middle School find gym class to be an exercise in mental and physical humiliation, as administered by Mr Woodcock (Billy Bob Thornton), the toughest teacher of them all. John Farley (Seann William Scott) is a past victim of Mr Woodcock's humiliation and is only just regaining his self confidence after achieving success as a writer and motivational speaker. But when Farley returns home, he is shocked to find that his mother (Susan Sarandon) is about to marry his high school nemesis. With the help of a high school friend Jay Nedderman (Ethan Suplee), Farley is on a mission to break up the relationship.

Review by Louise Keller:
Billy Bob Thornton has made some curious choices with roles of recent years. Perhaps these days he is more inspired by the dollar than by creativity, but nonetheless, it is a shame to see this talented artist featured in projects that are nothing but Hollywood chewing gum. Mr Woodcock is ok as far as predictable, low-brow Hollywood comedies are concerned, and it's considerably elevated by its above average cast. By the time we get to meet Seann William Scott's John Farley, ex chubby schoolboy and now successful author, we have already come to understand the dread that each bounce of the basketball that Thornton's Mr Woodcock brings

When we first meet Mr Woodcock in the gymnasium with a class of chubby schoolboys, he tells us that the only thing that matters is strength of body and mind. But we quickly learn from his actions that he is nothing short of cruel as he humiliates his students, using a baseball at the head and a bat targeted at the crotch. In short, he doesn't tolerate losers. It's no wonder that Scott's Farley bears a whopping grudge. And when Farley is invited back to his home town to be presented with the revered Corn Cob Key, he is taken aback to find the man who ruined his childhood is about to marry his Mom. Scott is well cast as Farley and there are some chuckles as he is confronted by his Mom's new lover. Thornton plays the sadistic PE instructor with relish and Susan Sarandon is classy as his new squeeze.

The best part of the script is when Farley questions the sense of his novel that embraces the notion to letting go of the past, especially when it contradicts his gut instincts. There are a few funny lines including a reference to Oprah who Farley's agent Maggie (Amy Poehler) ascertains 'Farts on a book and it magically sells a million copies.' There are some endearing relationships too, between Farley and Ethan Nedderman, who works in a pizza restaurant. The final show down is pretty silly, but it is all played out pretty much as expected as Farley tries to kerb the romance between his beloved Mom and the dreaded Mr Woodcock. It is all pretty tame, however and the film's title is as funny as it gets.

DVD special features include deleted and alternate scenes, a making of featurette, and theatrical trailer.

Published July 17, 2008

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(US, 2007)

CAST: Billy Bob Thornton, Seann William Scott, Susan Sarandon, Amy Poehler, Melissa Sagemiller, Ethan Suplee

PRODUCER: Bob Cooper, David Dobkin

DIRECTOR: Craig Gillespie

SCRIPT: Michael Carnes, Josh Gilbert


EDITOR: Alan Baumgarten, Kevin Tent

MUSIC: Theodore Shapiro


RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: deleted/alternate scenes, the making of, PE trauma Tales, trailer

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: July 17, 2008

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