While it bears the overwhelming stench of “I’ve seen this before,” and at moments, “I’ve definitely seen this before,” Here Comes the Boom manages to push aside the all too familiar plot line, and smothers the viewer with an onslaught of hilarity, delightful (although admittedly shallow) characters, and that warm fuzzy feeling that goes away as soon as you realize how lame it was (although you still really liked it, you just won’t admit it).
Kevin James stars as Scott Voss, a high school biology teacher, whose former days as teacher of the year have well passed, and his slacker tendencies have him at odds with Principal Betcher (Greg Germann). When the school’s extracurricular programs are threatened to be cut, including music teacher (and soon to be father) Marty Streb (Henry Winkler), Scott vows to raise the $48,000 necessary, even if it means teaching American citizenship classes to a group of very confused immigrants.
Upon his realization that teaching night classes will never get them the necessary funds in time, and getting a bright idea from one of his citizenship class students and former MMA fighter Niko (Bas Rutten), Scott decides that he is going to try to become an MMA fighter, with his sights set on making it to a UFC fight, where the loser makes $10,000. Though Niko is largely skeptical of Scott’s ability to succeed, he agrees to train him anyways.
The overarching theme of this movie is certainly an attempt at inspiration, as Scott not only has the heart to raise money for his friend and hero Marty, but also becomes the teacher he should have been all these years. This story line comes into play when the smart and musically gifted Malia (Charice) becomes somewhat of an inspiration for Scott’s transformation into a better teacher.
Amid the rather familiar plot line (it does bear similarity to last year’s Warrior, does it not?) are little tidbits of differentiation, all done with a definitive PG rated flavor. The love interest, school nurse Bella Flores is played by Salma Hayek. Sure, she’s gorgeous and I love her accent, but the pathetic banter between Bella and Scott is weak and embarrassing, especially when Scott finally succeeds in getting Bella to come over for a dinner date.
Where the movie certainly succeeds is in the admittedly ridiculous spectacle that is Kevin James fighting MMA. I don’t doubt that his training was strenuous, but in what spectrum of reality does he have a chance at making it to the UFC level of MMA? Frankly, none – but I digress. Though certainly this throws all believability out the window, this makes way for a slew of physical humor, and more than a few laughs, however cheap they may be.
The supporting cast merely adds to the amusement. Looking at Henry Winkler without thinking of “The Fonz” is impossible, and his demeanor throughout this movie complements the overall tone rather well. Gary Valentine (Danny Heffernan on King of Queens) plays Scott’s brother, in typical fashion. I’m not a fan of Charice, especially after her guest role on Glee; frankly, my cynical attitude lends me to somewhat despise the annoyingly bubbly personality that exudes from her tiny body. Additionally, the whole, “let’s have a musical sensation join the cast and throw in a few scenes where she awkwardly uses song to be inspirational and wonderful” really just has to stop.
After reading all that, you may think that this movie sucked; which, it kind of did. Still, I can’t help but really enjoy it, no matter how much I know I shouldn’t. I’m not calling this a blockbuster hit, by any means, but I would say that if you enjoy mindless humor, and aren’t in a critical state of mind, this movie is good for a few laughs after a long day.
Here Comes the Boom – 6.5/10