HERE COMES THE BOOM: “Packs a Knockout Punch!”

Kevin James as Scott Voss
Henry Winkler as Marty
Selma Hayek as Bella
Bas Rutten as Niko
In theaters October 12

Scott Voss (James) is a ne’er do well, motorcycle riding, high school biology teacher. Once teacher of the year, he has lost his enthusiasm. Now he is very lackadaisical about his teaching and is often late for class. On one such occasion, the principal catches him and punishes him by telling him he has to organize the student busing after school. Voss then looks for someone to pawn this task of on and comes to the school’s music teacher Marty (Winkler). Marty is a sometimes scatterbrained, but well-intentioned, gentleman whose passion is teaching music to his students.

That particular day, a meeting of all the teachers is called. The school is failing and the principal announces that the school’s budget needs to be cut. There are not enough funds to run extracurricular programs, so they all have to go, including music. Marty is devastated and tries to convince the principal to keep the program going. His pleas are pointedly shot down with hostility by the principal. This enrages Voss who has little regard for the principal or the system that is allowing this to happen, so he suggests that the teachers can come up with a plan to keep the music program going. If they can come up with $48,000 by the end of the school year, the program can stay. Voss throws out a net to try to gain support from other teachers – none are interested except Marty and the school nurse Bella (Hayek).

Despondent over the lack of support, Voss tries to come up with extra money to put towards the school. One such job is teaching a citizenship class. When one of his students, Niko (Rutten), needs extra tutoring Voss reluctantly agrees. He discovers that Niko used to be an MMA fighter and that you can make a great deal of money by fighting, even if you lose. Then Scott gets the idea of fighting to raise the money for the school; Scott asks Niko to train him.

Scott used to be a wrestler in college, but now he is in his 40’s and out of shape. Even though Niko is skeptical of Scott’s ability, he agrees to train him. With the support of Marty, Niko, and Bella, Scott slowly and painfully begins to make his way through the minor leagues of MMA. He is driven by his desire to help keep the music program alive for the students and help Marty keep his job, especially since Marty has just found out that he has a baby on the way. Scott can’t fail Marty or his students.  He has to bring the BOOM, but we’re left wondering if he has what it takes to make it to the big money and save the music program.

Kevin James is very loveable here as the slacker teacher, Voss, who actually rediscovers his passion and dedication for teaching while fighting his way through the MMA circuit. Henry Winkler is a treat as the excitable, absent minded-music teacher. Selma Hayek brings a little hotness as Scott’s reluctant love interest. Kevin James trained for 14 months for this film and you can see it in his fighting. There are no cutting away for reaction shots and close-ups here. He is trading blows and kicks for real. He is also joined in the film by several Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) associates, including fighter Bas Rutten, coach Mark DellaGrotte, referee Herb Dean, cutman Jacob “Stitch” Duran, and commentators Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg.

Co-produced and co-written by James, “Boom” feels like a mash up of “Rocky” with a tiny dash of “Mr. Holland’s Opus” thrown in. It is a very funny family-friendly comedy that isn’t over the top, and though I say family-friendly, there’s plenty of fun and laughs for the adults to enjoy as well.  If you want a good root for the underdog flick with plenty of laughs and a little warmth thrown in. “Here Comes the Boom” packs a knockout punch!

5 out of 5 stars.

Check out the trailer for “Here Comes the Boom” below:

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