After the (unexplainable) success of Paul Blart: Mall Cop
and The Zookeeper
, Kevin James is given his third starring vehicle. Like those previously mentioned titles, Here Comes the Boom
was conceived and produced under Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison banner. Featuring half a dozen of the Madison role players, this film is the first MMA-themed comedy. How did this mediocre comedy secure partnership with the world’s most recognizable MMA company, UFC? That’s even more depressing when considering that the much more prestigious 2011 film, Warrior
, could have used the exposure. Speaking of Warrior
; Here Comes the Boom
sports a storyline that is so similar, it could almost be a straight-up spinoff of that earlier seminal film.
Scott Voss (Kevin James) is a high-school biology teacher in a cash-poor district. After suffering another budget cutback, Principal Betcher is forced to cut the music program all-together, thus firing longtime teacher Marty Streb (Henry Winkler). That is exceptionally poor timing for the elderly music instructor, considering his younger wife is due with their first child. One night while watching a UFC match, Scott and his Dutch friend Nico (Bas Rutten), devise a plan to save Mr. Streb’s job and the school’s important music program. Scott will compete in MMA matches and donate the money that would be used for Marty’s salary.
A couple of wins in smaller venues puts Voss on the map and his celebrity rises after vomiting on an opponent during a match. Eventually he is offered an opportunity to fight on the undercard of a UFC PPV event. This leads to a training montage and big fight scene that concludes the picture. Problem is there is no suspense because it’s a predictable feel good comedy, but there aren’t many laughs either. So we are left with appealing performers wandering around a film that is suffering an identity crisis. That’s a shame, since James looks to have gotten himself into top shape for the role. That kind of dedication is admirable but once again this is a so-called comedy, perhaps that attention should have been paid to the script. Fans of the sport and the UFC specifically will take delight in recognizing familiar faces in cameo appearances. It’s reminiscent of the 1980’s WWF (yes, before the WWE switch) action-comedies, Body Slam and No Holds Barred.
Director: Frank Coraci
Stars: Kevin James, Henry Winkler, Salma Hayek