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Film / Mr. Woodcock

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Mr. Woodcock is a 2007 comedy film starring Seann William Scott, Susan Sarandon, and Billy Bob Thornton.

The movie starts with successful self-help author John Farley coming home to Nebraska to receive an award; however, trouble comes when his widowed mom Beverly announces she's engaged to his old PE teacher nemesis, Jasper Woodcock. Not surprisingly, John tries to get them to break it off.

Tropes include:

  • Babies Ever After: The movie ends with the married Woodcock and Beverly revealing that they're going to have a baby. Much to John's dismay.
  • Butt-Monkey: John, as ever.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Woodcock.
  • Disappeared Dad: This plays into the drama, as, since his dad died, John's always found ways to break his mom and her boyfriends up.
  • The Ditz: Beverly comes off as this since she is shown to be blatantly ignorant or negligent of how badly Woodcock affects her son. She blatantly seemed lackadaisical when Woodcock attacked her son after he snuck back into his house and revealed who he was.
    • Eventually, it is shown she knew about her son's antagonism with Woodcock, which eventually caused her to initially break off their relationship. She then gives a short but poignant "Reason You Suck" Speech to John for repeatedly ruining her chances of starting a new relationship throughout his youth through rebellious activity after his father died until she gave up finding romance altogether, and never once considering how alone she felt all those years as a single mother.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Woodcock, again.
  • False Rape Accusation: In a conversation with Beverly, John discusses the mental, emotional and psychological scars that Woodcock inflicted on him. John tells his mother, "He touched me," but then recants his accusation and says the molestation claim isn't true. However, John does comment, "He's mean, and he's cruel."
  • I Banged Your Mom: Certainly implied and outright stated (repeatedly by Woodcock) since Woodcock is dating John's mom after all.
    • John ends up in an unfortunate spot when he breaks into Woodcock's house, just as his mother and Woodcock come home to have sex, while John is trapped under the bed.
  • Jerkass: Woodcock, although by the end he is shown to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • John's agent (played by Amy Poehler) is this to insane levels, although she gets a sort-of comeuppance when a rant against John is seen by Tyra Banks and millions of viewers on live TV.
    • John, although his intentions are good-hearted, gets a few crosses-the-line moments throughout the film, especially near the end.
  • Kavorka Man: Despite being an old, gruff, and infamous jerkass gym teacher, many women seem to have an attraction for Mr. Woodcock because of his macho bravado and supposed love-making prowess. Many of the girls in John's school during his youth had a crush on him, including John's childhood love interest, much to his disgust.
  • Mama Bear: Beverly when Woodcock challenges John to a fight near the end.
  • The Millstone: Nedderman.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Another source of drama (and comedy) is John coming home to find out that Beverly is engaged and dating Jasper Woodcock.
  • Practically Different Generations: John is in his late 20's-early 30's when Woodcock and his mother announce that they're expecting a baby.
  • Sadist Teacher: Woodcock is the gym teacher from hell. Nedderman even implies that he killed an asthmatic boy by working him too hard. This turns out to not be true, however.
  • Stacy's Mom: Farley's mother, according to more than one of the younger male characters.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: John's skills at wrestling aren't as good as Woodcock's, but when they fight, John being two decades younger and his dirty tactics allow him to win.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: You have to feel sorry for John after the years of abuse he endured from Woodcock, but sneaking into Woodcock's house, nearly ruining his mother's chance at happiness, embarrassing Woodcock at a public awards ceremony, and challenging him to a fight (then seriously injuring him) is crossing the line.
    • Roger Ebert pointed out in his review that John's self-help book can't possibly be any different than any other self-help book, and that John is a bit of a charlatan, making money off other people's weaknesses and fears. He also felt that the film implies that John hasn't kept in touch with his mother much since becoming a popular author, and the only reason he's visiting her is that his book tour happens to be stopping through his hometown.
  • Villain Has a Point: While Woodcock's teaching methods can be cruel and extreme, in the opening of the film the man does make some good points about how strengthening the body and the mind is important.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: John views Woodcock as this, especially when he wins an Educator of the Year award.
    • He later realizes that Woodcock might just deserve it. As it was John's drive to prove that Woodcock was wrong about him that drove him to become a best-selling author.
  • We Should Get Another Tape: Farley's friend Nedderman tries to help by faking an extremely crude and laughably transparent tape depicting Woodcock's supposed cruelty, which they play in front of Woodcock and Mrs. Farley. Unfortunately, the tape goes on to show Nedderman delivering a spirited rant about how Woodcock doesn't deserve Farley's "hot mom", and goes into great detail about Mrs. Farley's "big ol' titties" and what he'd love to do to them. Needless to say, this does not go over well with anyone present.