You know - the MMA wrestling comedy with Kevin James where he ends up with Salma Hayek. It's 2013's first great documentary....
Sony / 105 Minutes / 2012 / Rated PG / Street Date: February 5, 2013
See, Kevin James engages in MMA fighting... for the kids. In Here Comes the Boom, the one-time King of Queens plays a teacher who, to be honest, really isn’t all that good at his job. He’s lazy, constantly tardy, and he simply doesn’t give a rip about the young minds he’s supposed to be shaping. As this wrestling comedy begins, Scott Voss (James) gets reprimanded for being late again, but gets his pal, the squeaky-clean music teacher Marty Streb (Henry Winkler), to do his afterschool bus duty for him.
Then comes the news: the school Scott and Marty work for is so strapped financially that if it doesn’t raise the better part of $50,000 soon, they’ll have to shut the music department down for good. Scott gets an altruistic interest in teaching ESL on the side, but that won’t earn him that kind of money any time soon. As luck would have it, though, one of Scott’s students asks for some extracurricular assistance, and it turns out the guy’s a Mixed Martial Arts trainer.
As the fantastical world of Here Comes the Boom progresses – did I mention that Kevin James ends up with Salma Hayek? – Scott’s logic doesn’t necessarily involve entering a MMA thunderdome and winning: we learn that even if you fight and lose your ass, you get to take home $10,000. So Scott and his student/trainer (Bas Rutten) start training, and in the process, Scott realizes that he’s not all that bad at the sport, he becomes revitalized as an educator, he saves the school, ends up with a hot chick, and learns the true meaning of Christmas.
James is an amiable enough on-screen presence, of course: in lesser comedic hands, Here Comes the Boom would be patently unwatchable. Yet even though his sensibilities allow him to traverse the minefield of cliché here, the end results are significantly thinner than they should be. As a turn-your-brain-off family comedy, there are bulletpoints here that do what they’re designed to, but Here Comes the Boom pales as a comprehensive escapist picture. Even with a better title, this wrestling rom-com just doesn’t work.