‘Here Comes The Boom’ Movie Review – Surprise, Surprise
Judging an actor by his projects is always dangerous…and largely unfair. If you were to do this to Kevin James, you’d be looking at a recent string of critical disasters, ranging from 2007’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (a movie I find pretty funny actually) to last year’s Zookeeper. Of course, you can look at his breakout work in The King of Queens TV series as proof that his projects don’t all, for the lack of a better term, suck. Still, it doesn’t ease expectations going into his newest project, Here Comes The Boom.
There is hope, though, because the sports comedy is a small departure from the nightmares we’ve had to endure recently. Any departure is a good departure, and Here Comes the Boom has Kevin James to thank because he’s far and away the best part of this film.
When Scott (James), a 42-year-old biology teacher, learns that all extra-curricular activities are being eliminated from his school…he decides to raise the necessary money himself. Since his hero, a music teacher named Marty (Henry Winkler), is in danger of losing his program (and tenure) right before his baby is born, Scott takes it upon himself to raise the 48,000 needed dollars.
The premise is oddly similar to Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, in that the main characters take an odd route to raising the money. Instead of dodgeball, Here Comes The Boom uses Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Since Scott was a former college wrestler, he figures he can endure a few beatings and save up some money. He’s helped by Marty and a Dutch immigrant Niko (Bas Rutten) in a race-against-the-clock to save their music program.
With James’ aforementioned filmography and the above premise…I was very skeptical going into the movie. I’ll be honest, it didn’t seem like it was set up to be anything special. Then, the movie introduced a ton of characters with varying degrees of effectiveness. While Marty and Niko seemed like great characters, Scott’s love interest (Salma Hayek), principal (Greg Germann), and various cliché high school students seemed like fundamentally one-sided characters. With the exception of maybe the love interest, these characters needed to be in the movie just to serve the conflict.
After roughly a third of the movie, these characters started to disappear. Once the MMA-stuff came to the surface, the characters that needed to be there moved the story along nicely.
In terms of just pure MMA and cinematography, Here Comes The Boom is awesome. Every fight scene is shot very well. You can tell that James (and the filmmakers) respected the sport a ton.
James himself looked the part a lot more, too. By getting himself into relatively good shape, he at least semi-looked the part. This is just one way he helped the movie, but he also played his character perfectly, making the audience actually care for him. This isn’t something that was easy from the beginning either.
Bad title aside, Here Comes The Boom looks to be heads above Kevin James’ recent movies. It’s still not an earth-shattering experience, but it’s funny and entertaining pretty much all the way through. It may start off rocky, but when the characters that matter fill the screen (particularly the ones played by James, Winkler, and Rutten), the movie gets much better. Personally, it’s one of the biggest surprises of the year for me, and I hope you feel the same way!
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