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90 Second Movie Review: Mr. Woodcock

Rich Cerow


The Mr. Woodcock doll will feature "Fierce Grimace-Action."
Besides sounding like a porno character name (in particular, a 1970s mustachioed porno character, perhaps there to "fix some plumbing") and then apparently not featuring any porno at all, Mr. Woodcock disappoints because, going in, I'm thinking that the "Mr." in the title implies that we are gonna get a heartwarming tale of a teacher (or maybe a coach) who inspires his students to rise above their upbringing and defy everyone's assumptions about what they're capable of and totally ace the state math boards. Because one man dared to believe in them when everyone else said it couldn't be done. It would help if one of the girls was totally pregnant, and went into labor during the test but still managed to squeak by with a 65 or something. But, instead, Mr. Woodcock the non-imaginary film in my head in which every inner-city high school teacher is an inspirational, Jaime Escalante-eque super teacher, is about a gym coach who bullies a fat little kid who grows up to be Stiffler from American Pie and ends up about to marry his daughter without realizing that her father was the gym teacher who tormented him all those years ago, and now he has to have a series of wacky mishaps in an attempt to hide his identity from his future father-in-law (who, at some point, tells a story about his daughter's fiancee and what a fat pathetic loser he was and that was the worst student he ever had and the kid couldn't even come close to climbing the rope in gym class, and he thinks maybe that tub of lard was enjoying that friction down there just a little too much). Eventually he'll realize that he should be proud of who he is (after his ruse has been exposed, of course), and the gym tracher will maybe learn to finally respect him after he scores the last-second slow-motion goal in an intense game of water polo, or some other dumb game that you only play in gym class and then never again. The coach will realize that maybe he's a bit too hard on these boys and Stiffler will realize that, despite the numerous bodily wastes he's been drenched in during the course of this movie, that maybe the hardass coach's ways did help me, just a little bit, to become a man. Actually, that's not what this movie is about at all, but it should be. There, I just saved you $10 by spinning a better yarn. And I'm spinning yarns cause I am an old codger in the Wild West, and we are eating canned beans around a camp fire in the high desert.

What your girlfriend will think of you if you take her to see Mr. Woodcock: That you're in the sixth grade, because you giggle every time they say Billy Bob Thornton's character's name. And, really, Stiffler is a grown man in this, he should not still be calling anybody "mister." Or should he? At what age have you earned the right not to call other adults "mister?" Is it all about somebody being older than you? If I'm 80 and some dude in my home is 90, do I have to call him Mr. Wigglestein? I am 80 years old here, I don't have time for titles - I've gotta get to the point, I could die any minute. Besides, when we're all relieving ourselves in adult diapers and forgetting what year it is, I think you can throw formality out the window. At that point, you are just plain ol' Frank to me.


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