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Here Comes the Boom


Stars: Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Greg Germann, Joe Rogan, Gary Valentine, Charice

Director: Frank Coraci

The press notes describe this face-freezer as a ‘comedy’. I can only assume the notes were written by either someone who was lucky and had missed seeing the movie or, perhaps, someone who would be chuckling madly while watching a post mortem. (For once, those critics who automatically hate Adam Sandler films prior to seeing them and who sneer whenever his ‘Happy Madison’ production credit appears on screen might be right).

Amazingly, given the endemic lack of humour in the eminently clichéd proceedings, star James take a co-writing credit, sharing the shame with one Allan Loeb, for a storyline that would have been sadly inappropriate even for the late Norman Wisdom. Podgy 42-year-old biology teacher James decides to take action against the cuts being imposed on his failing high school by attempting to raise money moonlighting as a mixed martial arts fighter. So far, so ludicrous, given his sole qualification is that he once wrestled (a long, long time ago in high school).

Cue cascades of corny knockabout comedy as James (who also moonlights a second time teaching immigrants how to become American citizens) learns the business the hard way, taking painful punishment in the wrestling cage time after time until – well, if you can’t guess the totally unbelievable climax then you surely must be a complete cinema virgin.

Discussing the quality of the acting in a movie like this is basically pointless. James (or, most of the time I assume his double does) takes his knocks bravely enough and even finds time to romance school nurse Hayek who – and who could blame her? – carries on bravely despite her character and her lines. Only Winkler, surprisingly credible and eminently likeable as the school music teacher whose job and his orchestra have been terminated by budget cuts, makes something of his ‘on-the-surface’ paper-thin and clichéd as hell character.

Director Frank Coraci tries (and largely fails) to bring the witless screenplay to comic life and It hardly helps, either, that Phil Meheux’s cinematography is over-moody enough to suit a ghost shocker: Here Comes the Boom is simply not particularly well lit.

Tolerant moviegoers who are sheltering from an unexpected rainstorm by diving into the cinema might just find the film preferable to being drenched to the skin. But I doubt it.

Let’s leave the stars to review the show with snatches (yes, I know that’s unfair!) of their dialogue. For James, his line “This is ridiculous’ is perfect as is Winkler’s “It’s embarrassing”. I wouldn’t argue with either verdict.

Alan Frank

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Sony. Colour by deluxe.
105 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 10 Nov 2012