Kicking and Screaming

Director: Noah Baumbach
Year: 1995
Country: USA
Running time: 96 mins
Screenplay: Noah Baumbach
Based on a story by Noah Baumbach and Oliver Berkman
Production co.: Sandollar Productions
Producer: Joel Casterberg
Photography: Steven Bernstein
Editor: J Kathleen Gibson
Music: Phil Marshall

Grover: Josh Hamilton
Jane: Olivia d'Abo
Miami: Parker Posey
Max: Chris Eigeman
Chet: Eric Stolz
Grover's dad: Elliot Gould
Making plans is what the guys in Kicking and Screaming refuse to do. College was OK. Why should they move on? Pitched somewhere between Metropolitan and Slacker, this loose and funny first film fondly mocks their ritualised cleverness - and the elaborate justifications with which they dress up their reluctance to commit to anything. The women, who don't relish the justifications so much, are as vigorous as the guys are enervated. Much of the film's anecdotal humour grows out of the sorry contrast - and the easy style with which a great young cast handle the barrages of Baumbach's witty dialogue.

A most auspicious debut by a 25-year-old writer-director. Addressing the stimulating aimlessness of college life and the existential terror of graduation, it's a kind of slacker No Exit in which Grover (Josh Hamilton) and his three buddies stay on at school, while Grover's senior year girlfriend leaves to study abroad... The ensemble casting references both Whit Stillman and Richard Linklater but Baumbach's sensibility is his own. If the reliance on generational one-liners sometimes suggests a higher grade of Friends, the dialogue is as smart and funny as the camera placement is impeccable. — J Hoberman, Village Voice

What finally makes them move on, and sets this film apart from other slacker comedies, is the women they're attracted to: risk-taking students who are more capable than their men of standing on their own... The picture has a lovely, understated, autobiographical lilt. The perfect ensemble caat includes rthe reigning king of independent-film ennui, Eric Stoltz, as the seen it all barkeep. — Bruce Diones, The New Yorker