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Here Comes the Boom

2012 | 105 min | PG | 1.85:1

Here Comes the Boom


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Movie appeal




Theatrical release date

 12 October, 2012
 09 November, 2012

Country of origin

 United States

Box office




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Screenshots from Here Comes the Boom Blu-ray

Here Comes the Boom Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, October 11, 2012

After making a slew of films emphasizing his way with fall-down-go-boom comedy, star Kevin James is finally ready to make a picture where the comedic impulse is integral to the plot. Heck, it’s even titled “Here Comes the Boom,” giving James the easiest lay-up feature of his career. While there’s a triumphant physical commitment to the part, delving into the brutal realm of mixed martial arts, James’s screenplay is day-old bread, blending the “Rocky” formula with heaping helpings of “Nacho Libre,” creating an energetic visual experience throttled by a humdrum story. Indeed, James does plenty of fall-down-go-boom, but it’s wasted on a tediously conventional movie that does surprisingly little with the spectacularly strange sight of James in stampeding MMA mode.

An unmotivated biology teacher, Scott (Kevin James) is friendly with music instructor Marty (a scene-stealing Henry Winkler), soon horrified to learn his school is dropping all extra-curricular activities due to deep budget cuts. Pledging to raise $50,000 on his own to save the music program, Scott is left with few moneymaking options, resorting to teaching a citizenship class. When hulking Niko (a genuinely lively and charming Bas Rutten) needs extra tutoring, Scott is introduced to the world of mixed martial arts, learning that his worst citizenship student is actually a former cage fighter. Understanding that MMA losers make a killing, Scott puts his college wrestling career to the ultimate test, taking fights using Niko has his trainer and Marty as moral support. Climbing the ranks with his tenacity inside the octagon, Scott hopes to earn enough to help the school, also learning to be a stronger teacher to gifted students like Malia (Charice), while attempting to romance school nurse Bella (Salma Hayek).

“Here Comes the Boom” (a title taken from the P.O.D. song, which Scott uses as his ring entrance music) comes from the Adam Sandler factory, with longtime associate Frank Coraci (“The Wedding Singer,” “The Waterboy”) taking directorial control, reteaming with James after 2011’s “Zookeeper.” There’s a palpable comfort to the production, born from men who’ve spent plenty of time together, syncing senses of humor, which contributes an air of lethargy to the jokes. It’s a strange picture when it comes to actual laughs, with many scenes bizarrely trailing off into nothingness, as if the viewer is supposed to equate awkwardness with hilarity. There’s also a string of feebly imagined supporting characters, including Scott’s brother Eric (Gary Valentine), a besieged dad who’s had one too many kids; Marty, the flighty music teacher who’s strangely enlivened by the whole MMA turn of events; and there’s Niko, a wall of a man reduced to teaching disco spin classes in his gym. The emphasis of the writing suggests the production found this stuff to be hilarious.

James and co-writer Allan Loeb stick to a sitcom routine to survive “Here Comes the Boom.” It’s an odd plan of attack considering the spunkiness of the concept, with human pinball James greased into a series of MMA encounters, where his insistence on slapstick is put to fine use while being pummeled by a series of raging combatants. Coraci delivers satisfying work when concentrating on Scott’s fights and their often embarrassing outcomes, with the teacher often beaten soundly, relying on Bella to provide cheap health care and inspiring flirtations. I only wish “Here Comes the Boom” remained in the MMA mix for the entire picture. While the matches often take on unpleasant funny business (at one point, Scott accidentally vomits on an opponent), the sheer force of the combat and a reliable series of montages are entertaining to watch. Less involving is the comatose teacher routine, observing Scott reclaim his classroom verve while working through difficulties in the octagon, where he’s eventually courted by Joe Rogan and the illustrious UFC organization.

“Here Comes the Boom” aims to inspire and endear, but it’s alarmingly insincere, checking off hackneyed super-teacher scenes between blasts of sporting movie clichés. It’s certainly not a boring picture (James would never stand for that), just one in dire need of some creative oxygen, gifting the effort an overall excitement that easily matches the MMA showdowns starring a 47-year-old actor clearly living out a longtime dream of big screen beatdowns.

Starring: Kevin James, Henry Winkler, Salma Hayek, Greg Germann, Gary Valentine, Reggie Lee
Director: Frank Coraci

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Here Comes The Boom 8 Oct 20, 2012

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