The thorough review (for Amazon`s U.S. WWW site) by Lawrence Berbabo of "Mr. Woodcock" gives a very good idea of what the movie is about, so I shall not cover the ground anew that he traverses so well. I only would take issue with his low rating of it. I found the film amusing and well conceived, the acting excellent. Anyway, I am one of those fans who can find almost no wrong at all with whatever Billy Bob Thornton (as the stern gym coach) does for the siver screen. He, in the title role, and the entire cast make this tale of junior high physical education lived and relived very lively. Probably, in real life, the only teachers, as a group, who are as dreadful as gym teachers are math teachers; that applies, dismally, at the college and university level, as well. Teachers of both subject areas rated really, really low in my memories (and in those of a lot of other folks whom I know) of junior high school. (I was luckier in senior high school, where the math teachers were equally abysmal but where the gym teachers were quite decent men and instructors, but the experience of mathematics and physical education hit new lows, if anything, in my university years!)
Having lived too sheltered and pampered a life to have experienced anything so soul-trying and ruggedly harsh as military "boot camp" and the drill sargents or petty officers who train the troops thereat, John Farley (as Sean William Scott so comically plays the role) conceives, instead, of his past gym teacher as a cruel tyrant who has been the Great Personal Nemesis in his life and nightmares, which makes John`s horror on discovering that his widowed mother`s affection for Mr. Woodcock, as her exceedingly virile lover, will end in Woodcock becoming John`s step-father, a prospect that appalls the son.
Anyway, Mr. Woodcock gets back, from John Farley, some of what he deserves for what he had done to, ahem! so many athletically challenged pupils, such as John himself, in Woodcock`s highly disciplined phys. ed. classes. John, a successful writer of sappy motivational self-help books, whose mother (acted by Susan Sarandon) is romantically involved with Woodcock, has a capital opportunity to grow up (at last!), the hard way. The film really is worth a video rental, at least, really and truly! I would say that it`s worth more than that, too, so feel assured that it is worth purchasing.
And, yeah, I would toss any of John`s books of utter therapeutic pyschobabble into the fire, too, as Woodcock does to one of them at the end of the comedy!