Release Date: October 12, 2012
Runtime: 105 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony)
Director: Frank Coraci
Cast: Kevin James; Salma Hayek; Greg Germann; Henry Winkler; Gary Valentine; Bas Rutten
Every so often a movie comes along that takes a marginal star and places them in a story that truly allows them to win us over. Jack Black in “School of Rock”. Anna Faris in “The House Bunny”. And now, Kevin James in “Here Comes The Boom.” This is a movie that has its heart planted firmly in the right place and truly gives James a chance to glow.
He plays high school biology teacher, Scott Voss. The school where he teaches is facing severe budget cuts and, unfortunately, one of those cuts is the school’s music program. The school’s music teacher, Marty Streb (Henry Winkler), is an expectant father, and if the music program gets the axe, so does he. James, fed up with the bureaucracy of it all, hatches an unlikely plan to become a mixed martial arts fighter in order to win prize money that will allow the school to retain the music program and Streb. From the git-go, you know how this movie’s going to end up, so it’s not worth discussing any further.
Kevin James has shown a certain endearing self-deprecation in his series “The King of Queens”> and in other movies, like “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” Here, he throws himself into these fights, clearly comprehending that he is the underdog, his everyman paunch and lack of fighting skill on full display. The man certainly has pluck, and his charm and cute-as-hell smile won me over from his first match. Whether or not James did his own fighting, I don’t know, but the fight scenes are so well choreographed and James’ focus is so tight, that it really seems as though he’s in that ring kickin’ ass…or trying to.
He has such a likeable presence that it’s almost impossible not to root for him, no matter how slight or predictable the story. Salma Hayek plays Bella Flores, the school nurse, and they share a couple of cute scenes. The two of them are totally believable as love interests, she being just as cute as he is.
There’s really not much more to add about this movie. It is exactly what you expect it to be. But Kevin James sells it, he really does. I liked him enough before, but now I am officially a fan.