I have loved Kevin James ever since I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and so I had high hopes for this film. Directed by Frank Coraci, who last worked with James in Zookeeper, this sports comedy shows us a school teacher who must save the music program and his friend’s job by raising $48,000 and the easiest way to do this is by professionally fighting, why not? The plot shows us how he builds himself up to reach this goal and how many friends he helps and makes along the way, and ultimately becoming the hero to all.
Despite its rating of a 12A the fight scenes in this film are particularly graphic, especially in the final fight where moments of James being thrashed and beaten senseless made me wince and avert my eyes as the blows kept coming. He even throws up after his first win, even in the face of his opponent. I admit this was hilarious, but it was also rather difficult to watch.
Throughout the film, there are quips and jokes which keep the audience entertained and it balances this with more serious moments. Much like Chuck and Larry, the comedy is mixed with a serious message, to give the film meaning, rather than being purely entertaining. In this case the message is that students need to be inspired and that schools should keep their ‘good’ teachers. The film does seem to be designed for two audiences though, as a family, heart-warming film of a teacher raising money is not for those wanting to see the extreme fighting and martial arts. These serious moments do, however, become humorous at times as they are far too corny and unnatural, an example being when James looks at him surroundings during the final fight and everything has become slow motion. This was one downfall for the film as the difference between the comedy and the seriousness is essential, or else the film is laughed at rather than with.
The film is well shot, even showing what James would be seeing from his point of view during a fight and has some celebrities contribute to the film. Joe Rogan and Mark DellaGrotte star as themselves, both being professionally trained and renowned for their martial arts. Their contribution then gives the film more credibility, and shows the audience that the fighting was taken seriously, advised and watched by the experts.
Overall, the film is unfortunately corny in places and unnecessarily vivid in its violence in others, as well as having a weak plot; simply to raise money to save the school, similarly to Dodgeball. It is successful, however, in entertaining and one James should be proud of, considering the weak plot he is given. I would recommend this film as one for a night-in with a pot of ice-cream, despite its violence, and would recommend it in cinema for those who are fans of James or of martial arts and kick-boxing.
Here Comes the Boom (2012), directed by Frank Coraci, is distributed in the UK by Sony Pictures, Certificate 12A.