Here Comes the Boom
PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
Former collegiate wrestler Scott Voss (Kevin James) is a 42-year-old bored biology teacher at the failing Wilkinson High School. Budget cutbacks at the school jeopardize the continuation of its music program, which would result in its teacher, Marty (Henry Winkler), being laid off. Concerned for both his colleague and his students, Voss attempts to raise the $48,000 necessary to keep the music program alive. At first, he works as a night instructor for a citizenship class. One of his students, Niko (Bas Rutten), approaches him to get some outside tutoring and Voss reluctantly agrees. When he arrives at Niko’s apartment, he realizes that Niko was a former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. While watching UFC at Niko’s apartment, Voss learns that the loser of the fight receives $10,000, which gives him the idea of raising the money by fighting in MMA himself. Voss then begins fighting in small MMA fights and gradually gaining more and more money for the school.
Voss eventually gets a dinner date with Bella Flores (Salma Hayek), and they share many moments together showing much affection for each other. Voss then gets an offer to fight at the UFC, but Niko turns it down for Scott. When Scott angrily confronts Niko, Niko states that he was sorry and that the only reason he turned it down was because he was jealous because Niko himself was asked to fight at the UFC and eagerly accepted, but while he was training, he hurt his neck and that was it for him. They both go back and accept the offer. He then learns that he can get $ 50,000 if he wins the fight, so he takes the risk. Voss and his crew travel to the MGM Grand Las Vegas for the UFC event.
The event turns out to be a hypothetical UFC 176 rematch of Carwin vs. Dos Santos and he manages to win his UFC fight, gets $50,000 for his victory, and saves the music program at his school. Also, Niko and all the students of the citizenship class have now become American citizens.
I’m not a fan of UFC, not because I have animosity towards it, but because I just couldn’t get into it. After watching Here Comes the Boom, I may give it another shot.
What is this about?
When budget cutbacks threaten his high school’s music program, physics teacher Scott Voss (Kevin James) decides to moonlight as a mixed martial arts fighter in order to raise the money that would save the program.
What did I like?
Dr. Feelgood. No, I’m not talking about Salma Hayek, who was playing a nurse (she can make me feel good anytime she wants, though j/k), but rather the tone of the film. The audience is treated to a story that will break and warm you heart, not to mention having you really think about the way our educational system is run…more on that later.
Music. As my chosen profession, I’m a little biased towards films that show music education in a positive light, such as Mr. Holland’s Opus and Music of the Heart. While this isn’t quite the same, it does attempt to show the impact music can have on a student, although you might miss it if you’re not paying attention. Also, on the subject of music, the soundtrack to this took me back to the turn of this century. It was good to hear these tunes again, and they were effective for what they were used for, rather than just being played for the sake of having some non-instrumental music going.
Support system. Kevin James may be the star of this film, but it is the supporting and secondary characters that really keep it going. James is the primary focus but, truth be told, he isn’t that funny. It is almost as if he was trying to play this as a serious role. His brother, Gary Valentine (apparently they are actually brothers), the aforementioned Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Charice, Bas Rutten, and this one guy in the citizenship class whose name I do not know at this time are all a major reason to enjoy this film. their roles and chemistry with James lend a great amount of heart, comedy, and inspiration.
What didn’t I like?
Predictable. I think you can guess what happens at the end of the film involving the music program and his relationship with the hot nurse, right? That is an issue I have with the film, it is quite predictable, despite an attempt to throw viewers off by having a school official arrested for embezzling. That might have actually worked, if not for the fact that it was forgotten almost as soon as it was brought up. In a film like this, where the basic idea has been done so many time, each one better than this version, there needs to be something memorable. With the exception of the UFC/MMA angle, this film is nothing special in terms of plot. Hell, even that last fight reeked was obvious. Come on, all of a sudden the band/orchestra kids are there playing his alternate theme song, “Holy, Holy” by Neil Diamond (“Here Comes the Boom” by P.O.D. worked better, if you ask me), Salma Hayek also shows up, they show his citizenship class and the school watching the fight on TV, and every chance the announcers get, they bring up that he’s a Biology teacher and his opponent is pissed that his original fight, which was supposed to be a championship fight, I believe, was canceled.
Message. First off, why is it that everytime schools need to make budget cuts, the first to go is typically the arts, specifically music? This is something that happens here in the real world, as well. Yet, nothing happens to athletics, even if all the sports have combined for a total of 5 wins over 50 years, they clearly are still more deserving of retention than the band. This is actually brought up for a quick second in the film, but as in real life, it is brushed aside because athletics makes money, whereas the music program…Let me stop before I turn this into a fill blown rant. The message in this film is that in this country our education system is flawed. Teachers don’t really care for what they are teaching anymore. Take a look at James’ character, for the majority of the film, he spends his time behind the computer, probably playing solitaire. Belive it or not, that isn’t much different from the way some teachers actually treat their jobs. Until the time when these teachers can teach without being forced to these unrealistic standards, our kids will never truly succeed. The standards of if one kid isn’t keeping up, then the class as has to slow down, but if one kid is bored, then you have to speed up. Basically, they can’t win. Is it no wonder they are burned out? Throw in these standardized tests and it is a miracle there aren’t more teacher suicides! I mention the heavy-handed message that was in Invisible Invaders earlier today. Well, this falls along the same lines.
Charice. First off, let me say that this is one talented girl. The fact that she hasn’t been successful here in the states while the likes of Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and Nicki Minaj have topped the charts just goes to show you how we don’t appreciate good music. Think about this, nearly every one-hit wonder from the 80s went on to have huge success in Europe, while being shunned over here. Shame, isn’t it. All that aside, Charice has some acting chops to go with her voice. I wish she would have gotten the chance to flex them both a little more. Well, the acting, since she did get to sing before the last fight.
All my ranting and raving aside, Here Come the Boom is a film that has its issues. For a comedy, it doesn’t have enough moments that make you laugh, which is obviously a huge issue. I appreciate the save the music program angle, but I felt as if it might have worked better if James was the music director. Still, this film is far from the horrid affair critics would have you believe it is. I had a decent time watching and think you’ll enjoy it a bit, as well.
3 1/2 out of 5 stars