Don’t listen to hoity-toity critics who talk about lack of realism, overwrought sentimentality, and lack of depth in Here Comes the Boom. It has its flaws, but you will like this movie, because Kevin James is charming and his supporting cast do a great job. Plus, it’s about the kids, man.
Here’s a trailer:
Now the deets:
Released October 12, 2010
Written by Kevin James, Rock Rueben, and Allan Loeb
Directed by Frank Coraci
Starring Salma Hayek, Charice, Kevin James, Henry Winkler, Bas Rutten, Reggie Lee, Gary Valentine, and Greg Germann
* * * * *
Scott Voss (James) is a former teacher of the year who was also a wrestler in high school. When his high school decides to cut the entire music program, run by his friend Marty (Winkler), Voss, in a fit of pique, says that the teachers will raise the money to keep the program intact.
But at the meeting he calls to plan what the faculty will do, only he and Bella (Hayek) and Marty show up. He wants to give up, because he’s essentially an unmotivated low-life at this point, but he learns that Marty has other, high-stakes reasons to keep his job. Voss takes a night-time job, teaching immigrants a class on citizenship, and meets Niko (Rutten), who is a former ultimate fighter.
Now Voss learns that he could make a pile of money just by fighting and losing. He ropes Niko in to train him. Cue the training montage.
We now follow Voss, with Marty as an assistant trainer, in multiple fights, with Bella, who is the school nurse, treating Voss after the fights. Here we have the conflict of whether or not Voss will make enough money, a burgeoning romance with Bella, Marty’s complicated family life, a classroom full of immigrants seeking US citizenship, and adorable music students. The most prominent music student is Malia, played by the music star Charice. She has a lovely voice.
We know where this story is going. What is so nice is that the stop-offs and the journey itself surprise with their authenticity and the fresh comedy that springs from interesting people having interesting relationships. The characters in Here Comes the Boom are not stock characters; they’re familiar and fun– with the exception of Voss’s brother and his wife. These characters aren’t necessary, but they’re enjoyable despite their predictability.
The writing and dialogue are enjoyable as well. The sentiment is a little over the top, but we have an underdog fighting for redemption and to help a bunch of kids– how could the sentiment not be strong.
What makes Here Comes the Boom an effective, enjoyable film is that it knows what it is and what it’s trying to do. It doesn’t try to be some overly dramatic film, nor does it try to equal Three Stooges levels of slapstick. It’s telling a story with lots of funny stuff that’s inherent to it, with the punchlines being mined for deeper laughs than you would expect. It doesn’t pander, because honestly, this film doesn’t really care a lot about the audience.
It’s a simple, harmless film with not much of a message that delivers charm, sentiment, and even some solid fight tension. Kevin James does a great job, as do everyone else.
Content warnings: obviously some fighting violence, some randy humor but not much, a little bit of language.
Writing: 4 Acting: 4 Overall: 4
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