Kevin James is back on the big screen in Here Comes the Boom, which is suspiciously similar to 2011′s Warrior except that in this case, the main character is trying to raise money for a school music program rather than needing money for himself and his family. Boom is also a comedy, whereas Warrior was a drama. I originally wrote Boom off in my mind, thinking it was going to be a silly movie about MMA (mixed martial arts), but it actually had a few funny moments and ended up exceeding my expectations.
Scott Voss (James) once loved teaching, but now is a slacker: he shows up late, gets docked vacation days, and doesn’t care about his class. His friend Marty (Henry Winkler) is the orchestra teacher at the school, and one day Scott comes across them practicing and is impressed by how good they sound. When the school principal (Greg Germann) announces budget freezes and says that the music program will be cut, Scott realizes that Marty might lose his job, and decides that he will work together with the other teachers to raise the $47,000 or so needed to keep the program. This is easier said than done, though, especially because most of the teachers, with the exception of Bella (Salma Hayek), don’t really care about putting in the extra time to save the orchestra. Scott used to wrestle in college, and after his friend Niko (Bas Rutten) tells him how much MMA fighters make, even for losing a match, he hatches a crazy scheme to enter the ring and raise the money for the music program. Scott doesn’t anticipate how hard it will be, though, and gets thrown around in the arenas more than a few times before hitting his stride.
The ending of the film was predictable but some of the jokes throughout it were amusing. Kevin James actually lost more than 80 pounds to play the part, and supposedly did about 70-80% of the stunt work in the ring himself, too. He has good chemistry with Salma Hayek, and Henry Winkler has a part in the film too, as both the orchestra teacher and his moral support while fighting, though sometimes his character disappeared for long stretches of time.
Yes, see this film. I’d say overall I would give it 3 out of 5 stars, but the MMA fights make the film exciting and interesting to watch, so that increased it another half-star, in my opinion. This movie was definitely better than James’s last film, Zookeeper, and James’s comedy kept the audience laughing throughout its runtime. You don’t have to know much about MMA fighting either to enjoy the film, as James’s character definitely didn’t at the beginning of it, and with a PG-13 rating it will appeal to almost all audiences.
Here Comes the Boom is in theaters today, October 12th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 104 minutes.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.