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Review: Here Comes the Boom

Oct. 11, 2012by: Chris Bumbray
100%

PLOT: A bored high school biology teacher (Kevin James) takes up MMA to raise money in order to save the job of his school's beloved music teacher (Henry Winkler). Initially an underdog, he soon finds his footing, and not only gains a shot at the UFC, but also inspires his apathetic students.

REVIEW: You can forgive me for not being especially excited to see HERE COMES THE BOOM. To put it mildly, Kevin James' filmography does not inspire, with PAUL BLART: MALL COP and ZOOKEEPER being among the very worst Hollywood has had to offer in the last few years. But, whether it's his own love of MMA (James has reportedly dabbled in it for years) or a new found confidence as a leading man/producer, HERE COMES THE BOOM ain't half bad. In fact, I'd wager it's easily the best thing Adam Sandler's production shingle, Happy Madison has produced in at least a decade.


Working from his own script (co-written with THE DILEMMA scribe Allan Loeb), it's obvious early on that James is trying to inject a little coolness into his image. It opens up with him tearing around the city on a motorcycle, and then mouthing-off to his jerk principal (who, perhaps unfairly, are portrayed like circa-1980's style police captains nowadays). Noticeably slimmed down since the last time we saw him, James still makes time for a pratfall or two (hundred), but he's much less the schlub here than usual.

James is inspired to step in the ring once the school's nice-guy music teacher, played by Henry Winkler (The Fonz!) is threatened with losing his job and tenure- despite being newly saddled with a much-younger, and pregnant wife. James, who moonlights as a citizenship teacher, gets the idea from his ex-UFC fighter student, Nico (real-life UFC champ Bas Rutten) to give MMA a go, thinking he'll take a few dives, raise some cash and move on.


In true Hollywood style, James- who starts off as a goofy fighter that looks like he'd have a hard-time staying alive in the cage, emerges as a surprisingly talented fighter. To his credit, James- who's seemingly turned a lot of his girth into muscle, really does look like he can mix it up in the ring, and his physicality, especially taking into account his size, is very impressive. He moves well, throws himself through the air with aplomb, and seems to have done most of his own fighting-eschewing stuntmen and CGI. Especially in the final bout, I was surprised at how well the fights were shot by director Frank Coraci ( a Happy Madison regular- who actually has a little action experience having directed Jackie Chan's AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS flop). I actually saw an upcoming big-budget action movie (that I'm not allowed to review yet) that had fight scenes that weren't nearly as good as this.

Of course, HERE COMES THE BOOM is a comedy first, and a ROCKY/WARRIOR-style flick second, and perhaps that's the problem. BOOM works a whole lot better when aiming at the heart than at the funny bone, and I can't say that any of the jokes were particularly funny, although for an ex-fighter, Rutten seems game to poke fun at himself. Perhaps James and Loeb realized this, as the focus suddenly shifts in the final act, which is when, for me anyways, the film really started to work as more than just a diverting ninety minutes.

Continuing the new, suddenly cool vibe, James also gives himself quite the on-screen love interest, with him finding time to woo the school's incredibly hot nurse, played by Salma Hayek, who as always never looks anything less than perfect. Considering that she's one of the hottest women on the planet, one might assume she'd be a bit hard to swallow as James' love interest, but she's always had a non-pretentious earthiness which makes it OK. At least she doesn't immediately fall for him, although there's little doubt the film will end in an on-screen clinch.

So- while HERE COMES THE BOOM didn't really work for me as a comedy, there's enough of a feel-good underdog story at it's core to give the film a lot of heart. It really may surprise a lot of folks who might be expecting another run-of-the-mill James vehicle. While I still don't really find James particularly funny, HERE COMES THE BOOM reveals there's more to him than you'd think given his track record.

Extra Tidbit: Itll be great to see the old gang again, Potsie, Ralph Malph, the Fonz... No, they werent all happy days, like the time Pinky Tuscadero crashed her motorcycle, or the night I lost all my money to those card sharks and my dad Tom Bosley had to get it back.
Source: JoBlo.com

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2:37PM on 10/11/2012
The tv spots make this movie look terrible because they push it as a straight comedy, but I saw the trailer at the movies last night and they really showcased the underdog drama aspect which actually intrigued me. Bad marketing, good review, Henry Winkler = the man
The tv spots make this movie look terrible because they push it as a straight comedy, but I saw the trailer at the movies last night and they really showcased the underdog drama aspect which actually intrigued me. Bad marketing, good review, Henry Winkler = the man
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+3
3:09AM on 10/11/2012
I'll admit that I wasn't nearly as turned off by this as I usually am of Kevin James movies. A 6 isn't bad, and at some point I will probably check this out.
I'll admit that I wasn't nearly as turned off by this as I usually am of Kevin James movies. A 6 isn't bad, and at some point I will probably check this out.
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+2
11:26AM on 10/11/2012
God dammit!! I keep forgetting not to refresh.
God dammit!! I keep forgetting not to refresh.
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+2
11:04AM on 10/11/2012
I'm not surprised with the score. I dont like anything Kevin James but this flick looked good from the trailers, well good enough to catch my attention. Kevin James is also apparently a good fighter as well, Bas Rutten and Joe Rogan were talking about how good of a fighter he was on Joe's podcast. I was suprised to hear that.
I'm not surprised with the score. I dont like anything Kevin James but this flick looked good from the trailers, well good enough to catch my attention. Kevin James is also apparently a good fighter as well, Bas Rutten and Joe Rogan were talking about how good of a fighter he was on Joe's podcast. I was suprised to hear that.
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9:55AM on 10/11/2012

Interesting

" I actually saw an upcoming big-budget action movie (that I'm not allowed to review yet) that had fight scenes that weren't nearly as good as this."

I'm curious if this is "Skyfall"
" I actually saw an upcoming big-budget action movie (that I'm not allowed to review yet) that had fight scenes that weren't nearly as good as this."

I'm curious if this is "Skyfall"
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11:13AM on 10/11/2012
No- it's NOT SKYFALL. I don't see that for another two weeks (boooooooooooo).
No- it's NOT SKYFALL. I don't see that for another two weeks (boooooooooooo).
11:31AM on 10/11/2012
So glad it wasnt Sky fall!! I want that movie to be good so badly!!
So glad it wasnt Sky fall!! I want that movie to be good so badly!!
12:43PM on 10/11/2012
"Red Dawn".....a friend watched it in Myrtle Beach at a corp meeting. said it was horrible.
"Red Dawn".....a friend watched it in Myrtle Beach at a corp meeting. said it was horrible.
-29
2:15PM on 10/11/2012
This is probably the movie Warrior wishes it could be,which I thought was absolute garbage & sooo overrated.
This is probably the movie Warrior wishes it could be,which I thought was absolute garbage & sooo overrated.
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