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Review – Here Comes The Boom

With Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Greg Germann, Bas Rutten. Written by Kevin James, Allan Loeb, Rock Reuben. Directed by Frank Coraci. Rated PG for bouts of MMA sports violence, some rude humor and language. 105 minutes.

It’s time for an intervention to save Kevin James’s career, as he has fallen under the influence of Adam Sandler. He appears in Sandler’s movies like “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry” and “Grown-Ups” and Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions helps produce James’s solo efforts like “Zookeeper” and, now, HERE COMES THE BOOM. As a result, this otherwise talented comic actor has been squandering his talents on trash like this.

“Here Comes The Boom” is quite pathetic. James plays Scott Voss, a Boston high school biology teacher just going through the motions. When the nasty principal (Greg Germann) announces severe budget cuts means shutting down the school’s music program, Scott decides to do something to save the job of his old friend Marty Streb (a cringing and embarrassing performance by Henry Winkler). When it turns out that teaching a night school citizenship class doesn’t pay enough, Scott stumbles on a new plan: he will be become a mixed martial arts fighter.

It doesn’t matter that Scott in his 40s with his own high school wrestling days long behind him, because even the losers in the big matches can make big money. The alarms about how ridiculous and predictable this plot is can be heard from miles away but James – who collaborated on the script – goes on. There’s a love interest with the school nurse (an utterly wasted Salma Hayek who deserves far better than this). Various subplots are resolved in paint-by-numbers fashion: if a student’s father needs his daughter in his failing restaurant because he’s lost his head cook, expect that Scott’s brother, who took over the family house-painting business, is really a gourmet chef looking to follow his dream.

As to the absurdity of the “sport” of mixed martial arts, which is little more than barroom brawling with no biting or broken bottles, this is an improvement on one of the worst films of 2011, “Warrior,” which expected us to take it seriously. Those who wrote in last year to complain that this is a truly great sport should explain how beating a man when he’s flat on his back – as we see several times here – is an example of sportsmanship. If you think MMA, as it is known, is the greatest thing since an alley fight, you’ll enjoy the action here. Those who have seen past comedy greats like Charlie Chaplin and Lou Costello do comic fight scenes will shake their heads in despair.

The one bright spot in this mess is, ironically, an MMA star who has cut out a movie career for himself. Bas Rutten plays Niko, a Dutch student in Scott’s citizenship class who hires the teacher for extra tutoring and ends up becoming one of his trainers. A glance at Rutten’s credits indicates he’s been around, but this time he makes an impression, managing to be tough, warm and deftly funny all at the same time. Things pick up whenever he’s on screen.

In fact, here’s an idea: Kevin James should get a professional divorce from Adam Sandler (they can socialize in their off hours if they must). Then he should find a project that would focus on him and Rutten. Whatever it is, it would have to be a lot funnier and less painful than “Here Comes The Boom.”•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 1.5 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His first novel, Shh! It’s A Secret: A Novel About Aliens, Hollywood and the Bartender’s Guide will be released in January 2013. He teaches film at Suffolk University and lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.


About Daniel M. Kimmel

Film critic, author, lecturer.

7 responses »

  1. Yeez, the critic has a limited understanding of MMA at best. The movie probably sucks (it’s Adam Sandler after all), but the MMA bashing came outta left field in this article. Go watch some dressage instead, Kimmel!

    • Daniel M. Kimmel

      Not interested in dressage or MMA. And beating someone lying on the ground is not “sport,” no matter how much “history” it has.

      • It’s not “beating someone on the ground”, as a person who is on their back has just as much chance of winning the fight as someone on top…you’re an elitist who doesn’t seem to understand that all team sports are representations of war games, and for some reason you want to turn your nose up at MMA because it makes you feel refined, but really, you’re probably the same type of person that will call boxing “the sweet science”, with no regard to the medical assessments of MMA vs. boxing. There is nothing more ignorant than saying,”i don’t need to know the history of something”, when you are trying to claim that you know something about it. Maybe if you actually knew the rules of modern day MMA or the history, you would know what more people have died doing Iron man competitions or running marathons(28/year) than have died in an MMA match (0). Critics like you are the reason critics get a bad reputation because you are willing to trash something that you know nothing about, and you will relentlessly attack movies without being able to make one yourself. Why don’t you go do something productive besides sit in your ivory tower and talk down about other people’s work/occupations. You literally contribute nothing to humanity, and seem like a bitter, sad man with low testosterone and a chip on your shoulder. Keep going to your wine and cheese parties and making terrible jokes about “the commoners”, and keep up the terrible useless work!

      • Here is one of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu moves that allows someone to win a fight from the bottom position. It’s because of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that fighting on the ground is more like a chess match than a “bar room brawl” as you so ignorantly compare it to.

        The above link is an interview with John McCain about why he changed his views on MMA after being one of the most outspoken opponents of MMA. He has called it “human cockfighting”, but since the rules have changed, and more safety regulations have been implemented, even he cannot deny the legitimacy of the sport. You are less progressive than John McCain in your current position.

      • Daniel M. Kimmel

        I love the way people demonize those who disagree with them. I don’t follow boxing or marathon running either. I don’t go to “wine and cheese parties” and look down at “commoners.” Nor am I trying to ban MMA and am glad they have these “rules” that allow people to survive these barbaric bouts. But please don’t pretend this is anything BUT barbarity. You even admit it is little more than pretend war. I’m glad you deal with what’s obviously a case of testosterone poisoning by vicariously enjoying two men brutalizing each other rather than hurting yourself and others. But please don’t pretend that there’s anything else going on here.

  2. i’m sure the review of the movie is probably accurate, but as someone pointed out, if you’re bashing MMA because you don’t understand it, you make yourself look like a complete idiot…MMA has come a long way since UFC one, and has worked with boxing commissions and athletic commissions to make it into a sport that has less deaths (0) than boxing, and is not something that a “bar room brawler” could even imagine doing. I’m sure it makes you feel elite talking down about this sport, but you’re a film critic, not a sports analyst. If you want to offer an informed opinion about MMA, then you have a LOT of history to learn about the sport, rather than just going off your visceral reaction to choreographed representations of it.

  3. Daniel M. Kimmel

    And another MMA movie tanks at the box office. That’s 0 for 2.


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