Any parent who has schlepped kids to and from soccer practice, and stood on the sidelines and cheered or perhaps winced at home and away game will likely laugh watching “Bad Parents.”
Part of the 2012 Gold Coast International Film Festival, the comedic satire about obsessesive soccer parents stars Janeane Garofalo, Christopher Titus, Michael Boatman, Cheri Oteri, Reiko Aylesworth, Bill Sage, Rebecca Budig, Ben Bailey and Kristen Johnston.
The setting is Any Soccer Field, USA, concedes Caytha Jentis, the film’s writer, director and producer.
“It’s inspired by personal experience,” Jentis said, the mother of a college athlete who who spent years on the sidelines and serving on soccer boards.
As comical as the parents in the film are – bribing their kids to make the A-team, threatening their young athletes if they are slated to the B-team – Jentis says none of the characters are based on any one parent she knows. But, she pointed out, “People who live that life will laugh at what they see in themselves.” And they will also reflect on the excitement about being a part of team, and how it can be all consuming, she said.
The film screened recently at the Montclair Film Fesitval, where, Jentis said, “people laughed from the beginning – they got every joke.”
Jentis noted that the film generated a similar reaction when it played recently in Orlando, and at the Austin Film Festival.
Noting that travel soccer is a largely a family pastime on Long Island – what Jentis laughingly referred to as “the belly of the beast" – she is looking forward to meeting soccer parents at the screening at Clearview Cinema in Port Washington on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m., where there will also be a question and answer period. And after that it’s on to comedy festivals in Chicago and Los Angeles.
This is the third film for Jentis, whose works include “The One” and “Then Came Love,” which starred Vanessa Williams.
The script for “Bad Parent” started out as a play called “It’s All About The Kids,” which in 2009 won the New Jersey Playwrights Contest. Agents told Jentis they saw it as a movie, and as it evolved into a film, Jentis said that cast members added more humor to their roles.
Interviews on sports radio, including WFAN, prompted requests for screenings at fundraisers for “sports parents nights out” across the country, Jentis said.
That’s because, satire aside, she said, parents respond to the film.
“At the end,” she noted, “everyone wants to do their best as parents.”