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Here Comes the Boom Review

By Tom Fugalli

Overweight Champion of the World


Middle-aged biology teacher Scott Voss (Kevin James) becomes a mixed martial arts fighter to raise money for his High School in "Here Comes the Boom". Or, There Goes Believability.

Voss was Teacher of the Year 10 years ago, but what a difference a decade makes. He now shows up late, reads the paper in class, and advises his best student that school "just doesn't matter." His only interest, understandably, is in nurse Bella (Salma Hayek), who (also understandably) wants nothing to do with him. When Principal Betcher (Greg Germann) announces that budget cuts will eliminate extracurricular activities, it threatens the music program of his friend and colleague Marty (Henry Winkler). This drives Voss to fight for Marty's job, and for Bella's heart.

Voss learns that even losing in a high profile fight will earn him much more money than will his moonlighting job teaching English as a second language. Immigrant student and former Ultimate Fighter Niko (Bas Rutten) agrees to train Voss to do what he's already a natural at: losing.

This is where "Here Comes the Boom" becomes graphic in both a bloody and cartoonish sense. The epic beatings Voss takes are less damaging to him than they arguably are for the kids watching the movie. His only addressed injury is a dislocated shoulder, and a vague reference to a previous hospital visit, which "cost me more money than I made in the fight."

There's no reason why Voss is not killed or permanently injured the first time he finds himself in a cage, aside from the convenience of also finding himself in a family movie. Likewise it can be no surprise that Voss ends up at the Ultimate Fighter Championships in Las Vegas, because...just because.

Real-life Ultimate Fighting commentator Joe Rogan (as himself) and real-life fighter Krzysztof Soszynski (as The Executioner) add some authenticity to an otherwise wish-fulfilling fantasy. On the other hand, the students, particularly those learning English, are mostly stereotypes rehashed from other movies.

Kevin James is his affable self, here taking a baby step into more mature territory. Salma Hayek's talents are under-utilized, though she maintains her game face in a romance that may be the only thing less believable than the movie's premise. Henry Winkler gives an inspired turn as an ethereal music lover who floats like a butterfly throughout the movie.

With its serious physicality and juvenile physical comedy, "Here Comes the Boom" unsteadily walks the line between adulthood and childhood. Sometimes it works (a surprisingly funny vomit scene), usually it doesn't (three grown men having a food fight). The result is a punch-drunk movie that's not old enough to drink, and like any of its fights, should have been stopped.

What did you think?

Movie title Here Comes the Boom
Release year 2012
MPAA Rating PG
Our rating
Summary A High School biology teacher enters the mixed martial arts ring to fight for his school in a comedy that TKOs both believability and, occasionally, good taste.
View all articles by Tom Fugalli
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