What to expect from a Kevin James movie that is produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production house may not be what you expect. To quote our Henry Winkler exclusive interview, “They have heart.” When it comes to that fact, it could not be truer with James’ latest where he stars as a teacher who hits the ring as an MMA fighter in order to save his school’s arts program.
You can forgive Winkler for being generous with the praise on anything Happy Madison because it’s his music teacher, Mr. Streb, whose career and students are at risk in the gratifying comedy that yes, manages to bring a little Boom.
Greg Germann’s principal is dedicated to see this cut in his school's arts program through while putting in his place the speaking-up-at-the-wrong-time teacher, played by James. Germann is a screen presence and is in fact just surly enough to be an evil yin to James and Winkler’s yang in a film like Here Comes the Boom.
Here Comes the Boom is not trying to change the world, but wait… maybe it is. As arts programs in our schools have been steadily cut for over a decade and its proof of benefit to our children is real… perhaps James has produced his most timely film ever!
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) rigor that James goes through is a chance for the burly actor to show his comic mettle and it works. More importantly, the audience pulls for him which is not easy to achieve in a sports comedy.
Salma Hayek is a love interest-cheerleader for the cause, but is underused. Yet, it is not really her story. Her school nurse serves its purpose and it’s nice to see her in the role, but come on… hire Hayek and only put her in 20 minutes of the movie?
It is easy to see why the UFC was fine with this film as their logo and universe are all over Here Comes the Boom. There’s the positive message. It’s uplifting and James could not be more perfect for the role -- which is understandable as he co-wrote the script.
After watching recent reruns of The King of Queens, Movie Fanatic was reminded of the comic talents of its star. His steady climb into the higher comedy echelons of Hollywood is easily understood seeing how much he’s comically grown starring and anchoring Here Comes the Boom.