‘Here Comes the Boom’ Struggles to Assimilate Comedy and UFC Boxing

Ah, the fall season: the time to curl up with a blanket, have a hot beverage and enjoy a good comedy, right? Wrong. That is, if that comedy is “Here Comes the Boom.”

“Here Comes the Boom” stars Kevin James as Scott Voss, a mediocre high school biology teacher who was once ranked teacher-of-the-year, but who now snoozes under a newspaper as his students take exams.

His flame and passion are reignited when the principal of his school threatens to cut funding to the music program, risking the career of one of his close colleagues. Unless Scott raises $48 thousand, the extracurriculars at his school will fade out of existence. Yet since this character seems remarkably uncreative, he takes to fighting cage matches to try and raise the money himself.

To say that this movie is a let-down wouldn’t be true, because few people will walk into the theater expecting anything of good quality. This is one of those mindless comedies where watching a fat guy being beaten up by a professional boxer is funnier than the actual, written jokes.

Cheap shots aside, this movie is really just unoriginal and blatantly stupid. The story is hopelessly simple, and it’s been tried multiple times before, so watching it being used here and failing is actually quite amusing. It’s a classic boy-meets-girl; boy likes girl, girl rejects boy because girl is Salma Hayek, boy becomes a boxer, and–well, the rest you can see for yourself.

The premise is ill-defined and the flow of the story is choppy. It feels like the cast and crew spent a lot of time on the beginning segments, and then realized they were approaching the standard two-hour threshold, so they rushed the rest of the story out. To say you leave the theater feeling cheated out of an hour and 45 minutes would be an understatement.

Perhaps the acting can compensate for the broken plot line. Maybe? Nope. Hayek and James both put forward sloppy performances. James is unconvincing as a biology teacher, just as Hayek is unconvincing as a nurse. Moreover, the lack of chemistry between the two of them continually leaves viewers wondering what exactly the casting committee was thinking.

There are some exceptions, though. Marty Streb, played by Henry Winkler, was a charm to have in the movie. At times when the acting couldn’t be more contrived, and no one in the audience was laughing, Winkler would come in to save the day, adding something that would make the audience chuckle–or keep the audience from stampeding out of the theater.
In the end, this movie is not an exemplary comedy by any stretch of the imagination. If a cheap laugh sounds intriguing on a quiet Saturday night, this movie may be the one to see. Otherwise, you’re better off seeing something else.

(2 ½ stars / 5 stars)