HERE COMES THE BOOM. Starring Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler,
Directed by Frank Coraci. Rated M (sporting violence). 105 mins.
Another Kevin James comedy from Adam Sandler’s company. We know what to expect. Some knockabout comedy, a lot of corny humour, some PG vulgarity, laughter at the expense of a star who could lose some weight. While this is in some ways true of this film, it doesn’t quite do it justice. There is much more of a niceness in this one. There are quite a few funny moments. And it is minimally vulgar. Perhaps a bit more appeal than the usual films with and/or from Adam Sandler.
It is definitely a knockabout comedy. And lots of knocks at that. It is a multi martial arts story. Memories of the recent, Warrior with Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy which brought multi martial arts to mainstream movies. Someone remarked that it was a bit like Bad Teacher, with Cameron Diaz, with problems in a school. These comments came from audiences familiar with the latest films.
In fact, it reminded this reviewer more strongly of films like Rocky and the story of the underdog who triumphs and of Dead Poets Society where an unorthodox teacher is able to communicate with his students, willing and unwilling.
Perhaps that gives too elevated an impression of Here Comes the Boom Kevin James plays a biology teacher who has given up on his initial teaching zest and has become something of a slob. But, he has some sensitive moments with his friend, music teacher Henry Winkler. (And it is a pleasure to see a grey-haired Winkler in a substantial role that gives him both serious and farcical moments.) The school is in dire financial straits. And the music course is to be cut.
James brashly attacks the authorities and suggests the staff help find the money. One of the students at his night classes to prepare adults for citizenship watches multi-martial arts on TV and, now the former wrestler (well, twenty years former!) decides that he can find the money if he competes and gets the prize money for the loser, $10,000.
School authorities are not pleased. The students gradually see him as a hero. He loses and loses but… well you’ve seen Rocky! And his old teaching zeal is re-ignited. He has spent a lot of time courting the school nurse (Salma Hayek) who resists him but admires his perseverance. There are some nice, sentimental sub-plots about his brother who hates his job but is a great cook, about a young girl from a Filipino family who need her to work in a restaurant.
There is a huge finale in Las Vegas.
Kevin James has some abrasive aspects in his screen personality but he does win everyone over. Henry Winkler is able to bridge the gulf between sport and the arts. The film is very much pro music in school.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Out December 13 2012.