Monday 5 October 2015

Underdog's tale lacks killer punch

Film Review: Here comes the boom (12A, general release, 98 minutes) Director: Frank Coraci Stars: Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Bas Rutten

Paul Whitington

Published 09/11/2012 | 18:00

'Kevin James in ... ' will give any right-minded comedy fan the heebie-jeebies as his broad style is too safe to garner a decent guffaw.

The man is likeable, however, and it's this rootability factor that keeps mixed martial arts comedy Here Comes The Boom from being a total disaster.

Scott Voss (James) won Teacher of the Year 10 years ago, but since then he's stopped trying.

When school cutbacks threaten to axe the music programme, and with it friend Henry Winkler's teaching job, Scott decides to enter the Ultimate Fighting Championship to win enough money to save the programme.

Knowing he can't fight worth a damn, Scott aims to lose early, scoop the $10k loser's prize, and hopefully remain injury-free so he can enter the next bout.

After a surprise win, however, Scott gets brave and plans to maybe start throwing a punch or two ...

While Here Comes The Boom's underdog story is endearing and it's easy to get onside of James's everyman shtick, the predictable and cliché-ridden script renders this comedy a crashing bore.

Written by James, Allan Loeb (Just Go With It, The Dilemma) and Rock Rueben (Zookeeper), the trio, starved of good jokes, turn to tired subplots to shake things up. One student suddenly loves music so it's now imperative that James succeeds, while his trainer (Bas Rutten) could be deported and Salma Hayek is the love interest. The familiar UFC faces will appease the fans, but as a comedy, and as one big product placement for the sport, it falls short.

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