Director: Frank Coraci
Starring: Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Gary Valentine, Bas Rutten
Synopsis: Biology teacher Scott Voss (Kevin James) attempts to become a successful mixed-martial arts fighter in an effort to raise money to prevent extra-curricular activities from being axed at his cash-strapped school…
Kevin James can be occasionally funny and is perhaps the least grating and annoying of Adam Sandler’s misfit crew (with maybe the exception of Steve Buscemi). Still, with Sandler’s production company Happy Madison behind this latest Kevin James vehicle and Sandler regulars Salma Hayek and Henry Winkler in supporting roles, it’s hard not to go into this film expecting plenty of bad slapstick and gross-out ‘comedy’. It’s therefore a pleasant surprise that HERE COMES THE BOOM seems to have a little more heart than usual and has a nice message about the state of the educational system in the US… of course, it gets delivered in an extremely heavy-handed way, but compared to recent Sandler-produced films such as JACK AND JILL and GROWN-UPS, it’s nice to see a film that at least tries to say something other than, ‘Grown men getting hurt is hilarious’.
Kevin James anchors the film relatively well and comes off as a likeable guy – not perfect, but someone who tries to help his friends and is willing to put his body on the line in doing so, and that makes it pretty damn hard not to root for him on in his fight(s) to raise money. The MMA bouts themselves are done extremely well and are perfectly believable in the moment. However, it takes a certain amount of suspending one’s disbelief to accept Kevin James as an ass-kicking machine and it gets harder and harder the better he gets. It helps that the film has UFC on board to lend the film some legitimacy and create the climactic final act.
So, what about the negatives? Well, first and foremost, the film simply isn’t very funny. It’s not completely bereft of humour as some other so called comedies, but it is sparse on the chuckles. There’s also a lack of real conflict or adversity – with the exception of one turn of events that set up the climax surprisingly well – and for the majority of the film, it never feels as if Scott Voss is in any danger of not realizing his goal. The film also wheels out all the stock characters – lovable older friend in trouble, feisty Hispanic love interest, crazy talented Asian kid with father approval issues. It doesn’t hurt the film massively, but we’ve seen this all before.
Overall, HERE COMES THE BOOM will not go down as a milestone in cinematic comedy history, but it’s enjoyable enough for a single watch, even of not worth revisiting.
HERE COMES THE BOOM is released in UK cinemas 9th November.