Kevin James packs a punch in 'Here Comes the Boom'
A movie review of "Here Comes the Boom," a lightweight comedy with bouts of violence. It stars Kevin James as a biology teacher who trains to become a mixed-martial-arts fighter to help raise money to save the school's music program.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
'Here Comes the Boom,' with Kevin James, Henry Winkler, Salma Hayek, Bas Rutten, Greg Germann. Directed by Frank Coraci, from a screenplay by James, Rock Reuben and Allan Loeb. 105 minutes. Rated PG for bouts of MMA sports violence, some rude humor and language. Several theaters.
Kid-friendly funnyman Kevin James is at his cuddliest in "Here Comes the Boom." And he has to be. This amusing but sometimes unsettling comedy marries the teacher-turns-to-mixed-martial-arts mayhem of "Warrior" to that wholesome family dramedy "Mr. Holland's Opus."
It works, after a fashion. But that doesn't mean you won't wince.
James plays Scott Voss, a Boston high-school biology teacher who is a decade past his "Teacher of the Year" days. He's a burnout, habitually late for class, not shy about telling even that rare eager student (singer-actress Charice) that what he's teaching and what they're learning "just doesn't matter."
But he's touched by seeing that rare colleague who is still inspired and inspiring. And when put-upon Mr. Streb (Henry Winkler) and his music program are the first things on the chopping block when Principal Betcher (Greg Germann) has to slash the budget, Scott is moved to act. He'll raise the $48,000 needed to save his friend's job and his orchestra.
Bake sales won't be enough, as the fetching school nurse (Salma Hayek) discovers. And teaching citizenship classes part time won't raise much cash, either. But that collision with a collection of semi-stereotypes is where Scott meets the gregarious Niko (Bas Rutten). Scott persuades the former mixed-martial-arts fighter to train him so that he can get into the ring, take a beating and get paid for it.
James, Winkler, Hayek and Rutten make an amusing ensemble and click together. The importance of high-school music programs is emphasized, the struggles schools face in tight times are played up.
But there's too much "Inside Baseball" stuff regarding mixed-martial arts.
And as "Here Comes the Boom" — that's the song Scott wants to use as his enter-the-arena music — winds toward the ending we all see coming, the violence can be a bit much. Apparently the movie ratings board dozed off during the fights. It's not a PG sport.
But "Boom" is still a lightweight genre picture, a patchwork comedy that makes good use of its biggest patch — Kevin James.