Nov 8 2012 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Here Comes the Boom
Any film that has Kevin James in the title role normally fills me with dread, as anyone who suffered through his previous “comedies” Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Zookeeper will surely understand.
So Here Comes the Boom — where James’ biology teacher Scott Voss becomes a mixed-martial arts fighter to raise funds for his school — seems ripe for a critical battering.
However, this time James manages to hit the mark — in more ways than one.
Sure, the storyline is totally implausible and predictable but there’s a warmth to the harmless fun provided by James and director Frank Coraci that’s similar to —but not as good as — the latter’s previous work on The Wedding Singer.
James joined Allan Loeb and Rock Reuben on scriptwriting duties and the film is best described as a comedy version of last year’s ace UFC flick Warrior, mixed with elements of School of Rock and Bad Teacher.
There are some funny moments and dialogue, such as a slow-motion walk through an airport turning into a mad dash for a plane.
What works less well is when the script over-eggs the schmaltz.
One of the school pupils has a parent who wants her to quit music and claims “the only language I knew was music” and other zingers that would be better found in a self-help book include “You’ve gotta go after your dreams”.
We could do without the juvenile humour too, like Scott vomiting on a fellow fighter and a totally random food fight.
But with Adam Sandler on executive producer duties, it’s maybe no surprise that things get a little juvenile at times.
What’s also clear is that Sandler had a hand in filling out the cast and crew with his buddies from previous movies.
James, who teamed up with Sandler on Grown Ups and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, is game for anything, whether it be Rocky-style training montages, bruising physical comedy, or speeding to school to avoid the wrath of Ally McBeal’s Greg Germann’s one-note ‘nasty principal’.
‘The Fonz’ himself, Henry Winkler, is a hoot as music teacher Marty Streb, who acts as Scott’s inspiration and corner man.
Fortunately he also gets a happier, less bloody, character resolution than his previous role as a teacher in horror classic Scream.
James shares a sweet, playful relationship with Salma Hayek’s nurse Bella.
Well, apart from one mad physical date that requires too much suspension of belief.
The big final fight scene (I don’t think it’s a huge spoiler to say there is one) is suitably punishing, with Coraci using close-ups and slo-mo to effectively frame the hard-hitting combat.
Here Comes the Boom shouldn’t really work but James’ best solo venture yet proves he’s not a total lost cause.