Sony // 2012 // 105 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 11th, 2013
One teacher still believes in fighting for his students.
Scott Voss (Kevin James, Grown Ups) is a fairly worthless high school biology teacher coasting through his career and not earning himself a pile of fans in the administrators' lounge. He soon learns the recession doesn't allow for much lolly-gagging, when his close friend, Mr. Streb (Henry Winkler, Arrested Development) the music teacher, finds himself out of a job thanks to budget cuts to the school's arts program.
Incensed at this injustice, Voss applies his simple mind to the business of getting the music program back in business. Unfortunately, his pleas for line item reinstatements go unheeded by the district, so he turns to other avenues, specifically, mixed martial arts. A former college wrestler, Voss opts to give it a whirl in the octagon, having learned there is easy money to be made, even if you end up on the losing end of a vicious beating.
Along the way, Voss befriends another teacher (Salma Hayek, Savages) who happens to share his drive to help reinstate funding and is smoking hot. Needless to say, she's charmed by this lunkhead's positive attitude and may (or may not) strike up a romantic relationship with him even though she looks like Salma Hayek and he looks Kevin James. As for the rest of the plot -- particularly the fight arc -- zero surprises.
Okay fine, there is one surprise: Here Comes the Boom isn't the optical blood clot I was expecting it to be. I have little patience for Kevin James' schtick, but it works decently enough here. The slapstick he's renowned for is toned down, save for a handful of comical beatings at the hands of cage fighters and a botched attempt at a slam dunk to impress Salma Hayek's character (not that it makes a difference how big jackass he makes himself out to be; their romance is enshrined in the script). And he doesn't scream as much. In fact, this is the most sedated I've ever seen James and the film is better for it.
What renders Here Comes the Boom completely disposable is its cliché-ridden, no-surprises plot. Right down to the last fight, I guarantee you will not be taken aback by anything that transpires. Voss climbs into the octagon, gets smacked around, gets better, goes through some training, hits a sweet montage, then drops into the final fight with higher stakes and an opportunity to do something an underdog never ever does in these movies: beat overwhelming odds!
It's all achingly pedestrian and formulaic, though I give the film a soft recommendation based purely on the fact that it's rated PG. There are so few movies these days that earn a straight PG rating, you have to grade them on the curve. So I will. Families, you can watch this movie with your kids. Kevin James has a gross vomit scene, but that's pretty much the extent of the offensive material.
Straightforward DVD for you: standard 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround, deleted scenes, gag reel, cast interviews, multiple subtitle options, and an UltraViolet download.
Here Comes the Boom is a far from great and takes zero chances, but it beats yet another viewing of Willow right?
Actually, no. It doesn't do that all.
Here comes the blah.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Thai)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel
* UltraViolet Download