Short of armed robbery or winning the lottery, it's incredibly difficult to put together a lot of money in a brief amount of time. The minimum wage part-time gig on top of your full-time job just isn't going to cut it. But in Here Comes the Boom
, the protagonist takes a little bit of talent and the unwavering support of his friends, and turns his impossible dream into a globally viewed reality.
Scott Voss (Kevin James) was teacher of the year - 10 years ago. Now he shows up late for class, naps and antagonizes the principal. But Marty (Henry Winkler) takes the same kids and inspires them with music. So when he's the one put on the chopping block due to budget restraints, Scott says "they" will come up with the $48,000 to keep the music program. Unfortunately "they" is whittled down to Scott, Marty and the school nurse (Salma Hayek). When bake sales, night school and music lessons fail to bring in the big money, Scott calls on his college wrestling skills to earn money fighting in the octagon; eventually gaining the attention of UFC
Scott is the type of character that audiences love to get behind because he's who full of heart and makes them laugh. His character starts off as a bit of a flake, but he turns out to be a good guy that lost his way. James is totally lovable as the punching bag turned hero. His jests are generally well intentioned and quite funny. Having co-written the script, James is able to rely on his natural sense of humor and comedic timing to energize the character. Moreover, he got into excellent shape for the film. While it's clear he has no business in the cage against professional fighters - his trainer at one point describes him as a vulnerable puppy - he performs well enough to keep the fantasy alive.
While the first act is a little slow, Winkler shines. His enthusiasm is endearing as he gratefully encourages James on his journey. Having traded in his leather jacket for a tweed sweater, Winkler has become the old guy everyone loves. His blunders around the arena range from physically replacing a stool to programming Neil Diamond as an intro song to poisoning his champion, but you just can't be mad at the man.
Not surprisingly there are numerous cameos by real UFC personalities, including Joe Rogan, Krzysztof Soszynski and Jason Miller. But two of the key roles in the film are played by ex-fighter Bas Rutten and MMA trainer Mark DellaGrotte, who train Scott for his matches. Rutten is a particularly likable character, displaying a goofy side of his personality that is not often seen. This culminates in a very entertaining food fight involving an ill-fated and delicious-looking cheesecake.
The formulaic fight movie is boosted by the built-in energy of UFC events and the rock soundtrack, including P.O.D.'s title track and Godsmack’s “I Stand Alone.” By the time the last fight starts the audience is totally invested, cringing with every blow and cheering each successful punch.
Director: Frank Coraci
Starring: Kevin James
, Salma Hayek
and Henry Winkler