Here Comes The Boom

Directed by: Frank Coraci

Starring:  Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Bas Rutten, Charice, Greg Germann

Well color me surprised.  Here Comes the Boom was not completely horrible.  Please hear me out before you revoke my critic’s badge.  I had incredibly low expectations going into the film.  While I like Kevin James, aside from the King of Queens and Hitch, he has been a part of one bad film after another.  (I’m looking at you Zookeeper, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Grown Ups).  But James actually brings heart to an otherwise formulaic film.
Scott Voss (James) is a jaded biology teacher from Boston, Massachusetts.  He is frustrated with overcrowded classes, an uncaring administration and he simply gives up.  Voss goes to school for the paycheck and nothing more.  He is pretty ambivalent about everything until he befriends Marty Streb (Henry Winkler).  Streb is an inspiring and beloved music teacher.  However, budget cuts force snarky Principal Betcher (Greg Germann) to cut the music program, and Marty is on the verge of being laid off.  The only way to save Marty’s job and the school’s music program is to raise $48,000 to pay his salary for the next school year.

Voss, Marty and school nurse Bella Flores (Salma Hayek) try to come up with ways to raise the money.  Voss teaches citizenship classes at night to raise money.  Unfortunately, teaching nighttime English classes doesn’t exactly rake in the bucks.  However, one of Voss’s citizenship students Niko (Bas Rutten) is a former mixed martial arts fighter from Holland.  He introduces Voss to ultimate fighting.  Voss wrestled in school, and he thinks that if he starts fighting in the MMA arena he could raise money for Marty even if he is losing matches.  The film follows Marty, Niko, Bella and this unlikely team as they try to turn a forty-something year old biology teacher into a UFC fighter.

Here Comes The Boom has its charms.  Henry Winkler is always delightful.  Far from the cool Fonz from Happy Days, Winkler plays an elderly music teacher who is a little dorky, but has a heart of gold.  He is unbelievably endearing and fun to watch.  Bas Rutten as the MMA instructor is also a hilarious scene stealer.  Undoubtedly though, the film is driven by James.  He portrays the film’s hero with the earnest pluck and physicality that is typical of male leads in Happy Madison films.  Also, for those fans of mixed martial arts, there are some brutal fight scenes, kicks to the face, vicious holds, grapples and punches that definitely serve as homage to the sport.

With all of that being said, Here Comes The Boom is predictable in the way that all underdog fight movies are.  Moreover, the premise is a bit far-fetched.  The filmmakers are asking us to suspend our disbelief and imagine that it is plausible for a middle-aged teacher who has trained for a limited time to actually get into the ring with seasoned, hardened MMA fighters.  It simply defies belief. 

All in all, Here Comes the Boom was better than I thought it would be, and the crowd I saw the film with seemed to enjoy it.  The underlying message about the importance of the arts, the role of teachers and the message of hope gives this film a nice feel.  For that reason, I’ll give it a low .06.  Have a Corona with this one.