Here Comes the Boom (PG) D+
Kevin James' funniest film to date was the surprise hit "Paul Blart: Mall Cop", which came out nearly four years ago. Time has quickly flown by, and so have forgettable roles for James in the dreadful "Grown Ups" and the mediocre "Zookeeper" (all produced by friend Adam Sandler). James' newest effort is yet another Sandler production, "Here Comes the Boom", which goes straight to the bottom of his film resume.
James plays Scott Voss, a high school biology teacher who's been slacking-off since he won "Teacher of the Year" ten years ago. Because of budget problems the school is being forced to make major cuts that include eliminating many extra-curricular activities and the music program. This has a major effect on Marty the music teacher (played by Henry Winkler), who has a lot of very talented students and who just found out that his wife will soon be having a baby (yes, even though he's nearly 70, "The Fonz" is going to be a dad).
Scott feels terrible that Marty is going to lose his job. So, after watching an MMA fight on TV, Scott comes-up with the outrageous idea of becoming a fighter so he can make the $48,000 needed to keep the music program alive. He gets a former MMA fighter turned trainer (played by Bas Rutten) to teach him the sport and starts his career in the cage, hoping to earn all the money by the end of the school year.
The first twenty minutes or so of "Here Comes the Boom" are not that bad. The set-up is promising and there are a few minor laughs. But then the movie goes down and goes down hard. We have to start with the premise, which is pretty ridiculous. But the script takes itself so seriously, with sincere dialogue and overly sentimental music, that you're stuck thinking that the filmmakers believed that people would actually buy this story. And there are unnecessary subplots apparently inserted for comic and emotional purposes that fail miserably. By the halfway point, everything becomes so obvious and unrealistic, that you know what's going to happen and you just don't care.
The few funny moments in "Boom" are dialogue-driven. But there are a couple of scenes included simply to get a cheap shock-laugh from the audience (you'll know them when you see them). And the rest of the movie just lays there on the mat, lifeless. Besides Winkler and Rutten (who for some reason sings and dances throughout), the supporting cast includes Salma Hayek (as the school nurse and, of course, Scott's love interest), and UFC commentator Joe Rogan (who plays himself and surprisingly gets fifth billing - it must have been part of the deal). James tries his best, but can't add much life or originality to this bland character.
"Here Comes the Boom" is rated PG for the MMA fighting, some rude humor and language. It's appropriate for kids 10 and up. There are other real-life UFC people in the film and a lot of fighting, so maybe MMA fans will be tempted to check this out. Chances are, instead of laughing and cheering, they'll all be saying "Here Comes the BOO!"
On The Official LCJ Report Card, "Here Comes the Boom" gets a D+. This movie had potential (think "Happy Gilmore" in the MMA world). Instead, by being too serious and too safe, it's simply another Kevin James losing effort.
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