Director: Frank Coraci
Starring: Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Greg Germann, Joe Rogan
Written by: Kevin James, Allan Loeb and Rock Reuben
Running Time: 105 mins
Release date: 9th November 2012
There is a written rule with reviewing films: never go into a film hating it before you start! That’s what happened with Here Comes The Boom. Firstly, the title just sounded ridiculous; secondly, a comedy about mixed martial arts just didn’t tickle my fancy at all and thirdly, it was produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison company and the thought of watching something from America’s unfunniest man’s production company made me almost feel ill. However, this surprised me. I mean, seriously surprised me. For all its faults (and there are plenty) I actually quite enjoyed this total piece of fluff.
Scott Voss is a Biology teacher with absolutely no love for the job: constantly late, always fighting with the Principal and allowing his students to do their own thing, he once won Teacher of the Year and his only reason for working is his hope that school nurse Bella will go out with him and his friendship with music teacher, Marty Strab. When the Principal announces massive cutbacks, including getting rid of the music department, Scott is determined to do something to raise the $45, 000 needed. While working his second job as a teacher for citizenship to the US, he meets Niko, who introduces him to the world of Mixed Martial Arts, where the loser wins $10,000. Off to the caged ring he goes.
The story is hardly original. In fact, it has been played out time and time again, more notably in The School Of Rock, Joe Somebody and a dozen similar films but even as you watch with a massive sense of deja vu, it cannot help but be drawn into the tale, thanks notably to Kevin James.
James is not a big star in this country. in fact, he’s not that big in the States. Coming to the forefront with the TV comedy The King of Queens, he has made several fair to middling to awful films (mainly playing second fiddle to Sandler). He showed he could deliver, stealing Hitch completely from Will Smith, so at last he gets to show what he can do with his self penned comedy and he is good. A likeable bear of a man, he has the ability to mix slapstick, physical comedy with some nicely timed one-liners and this allows him to shine.
Surrounded by a cast of Sandler’s “family” (they’ve appeared in more than one of his movies), Salma Hayek is fine as the love interest while Henry Winkler as the quietly spoken music teacher gives a charming performance.
The fight sequences are well staged, and I was surprised at how much comedy can be drawn from having your face pummeled. James and his co-writers also layer the film with gallons of sentimentality. Seriously, you will leave feeling like you’ve eaten a bag of sugar, it’s that sickly sweet. Yet, you can forgive it. It puts a smile on your face.
Some of the gags actually made me laugh out loud, some missed the mark completely but a comedy wouldn’t be a comedy without its hits and misses. What is important is that you have fun and I did. Sure, it’s never going to walk away with awards and most critics will be snobby and dismiss it but cinema shouldn’t be just about high art. It should be about escapism and this is pure escapism.
Next time a film comes out that I hate before I enter a cinema, I will remember Here Comes The Boom. Actually, it won’t happen again.