- Insipid film about a teacher inspiring students, but too bad it can’t inspire viewers
- MMA fight scenes add energy to film
A FILM about inspiring people to go after their dreams or passions should really make people want to live life to the fullest, so it’s surprising that action comedy Here Comes The Boom falls flat on its face, like as if it had been kicked hard in teeth in a mixed martial arts fight.
But if you knew beforehand that Kevin James was in it and that he was playing the part of insipid teacher Scott Voss raising funds for his high school’s music programme, you would not have been surprised.
I realise that a discussion on which programme to keep amid a depressed US economy is a serious matter, but in the hands of director Frank Coraci, who also directed Jackie Chan in Around The World in 80 Days (2004), this film comes out as a regurgitation of so many films about teachers inspiring students to reach for the stars.
The only difference here is that actor, producer and star James becomes an MMA fighter in the hope of raising money for music teacher Marty Streb’s (Henry Winkler) programme, which is deemed as a surplus to the school’s budget.
And to make sure viewers appreciate what Scott is doing, Marty quotes Friedrich Nietzsche: “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Marty also, at the end, says that Scott is his hero. Sob, sob, sob.
In fact, the MMA scenes are the film’s saving grace. They add energy and humour to the film.
Viewers feel the excitement of the crowd braying for blood. The director keeps the camera close to the action so that when Scott is kicked, viewers will feel it in their bones.
James is an adorable and tolerable actor, but the early part of the film is annoyingly boring. I’m sure he can write better stuff than “Go after your dreams. Go after your passion”, or “As teachers, we inspire others”.
There is one scene that shows come creativity. Scott, who has been awaken from his doldrums after his bouts in MMA, urges his sleepy biology class to wake up and smell the cells. He stands on his table and says that if all cells work together, the entire system is healed.
To prepare for his MMA fights, he enlists the help of Dutchman Niko (MMA fighter Bas Rutten, who appeared in James’ Paul Blart: Mall Cop), whom he meets while teaching a citizenship class.
While the fight scenes are energetic, it’s also a foregone conclusion that Scott will persevere through intense pain, nearly lose the matches but, in the end, come out on top.
His love interest is sensuous nurse Flores (Salma Hayek), who, at first, resists his attention but eventually comes to her senses and falls for him.
A student who stands out is petite but big-voiced Malia (Charice, who appeared in TV’s Glee).
Scott’s transformation sees him become more popular among his students, his teaching improves and his sense of dressing also gets better.
This film greatly needs a kick in its back, and with such a preachy theme, you’d have to get into a fight with James to change his persona.
2 1/2 out of 5
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