Deservedly or not, Kevin James has been a considerably maligned actor. However, appearing in a string of critical duds like 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry' and 'Zookeeper' has been offset by the fact that his films generally tend to at least recoup their costs. And so it seems is the case with his latest effort, the action comedy 'Here Comes The Boom', which sees James forge a mixed martial arts career to raise money for the school where he teaches.
James stars as uninspired high school biology teacher Scott Voss, who is thrust into action when his friend Marty (Henry Winkler) finds his job as a music teacher under threat due to school budget cuts. Needing to find $48,000 to keep the school's musical programme alive, Voss initially teaches a citizenship class at night. Niko (Bas Rutten), one of his students, introduces Voss to the world of mixed martial arts.
Discovering that even defeated fighters can make $10,000 at the top level in just one bout, former collegiate wrestler Voss decides to explore MMA as a fundraising initiative. As expected, he finds the fights tough going but before long, he rises up the echelons rapidly, even (unrealistically) making it to the world's premiere organisation - the UFC.
Amid the fighting is his burgeoning romance with Salma Hayek's school nurse and his buddy relationship with his brother, played by Gary Valentine. These are welcome sub-plots as the in-ring action is generally quite disappointing, especially compared to the intensity of the loosely similar 'Warrior'. However, James carries the comedy with enough competence and the chemistry between himself, Rutten and Winkler is enjoyable to watch.
Rutten, while being a largely affable screen presence, does struggle more in the emotional moments of the film. However, this is perhaps understandable considering his main career has been as a mixed martial artist. Director Frank Coraci arguably should have extracted a better performance from Rutten but otherwise, he does a passable job at balancing the action and the comedy.
However, the lack of emotional resonance is one of the downfalls of 'Here Comes The Boom' - making for a rather forgetful offering. Something that does remain deep-seated is the film's inherent passion for music, quoting Nietzsche: "Without music, life would be a mistake." A profound statement in an otherwise over-simplistic comedy.
- Gag Reel
- 17 Deleted Scenes
- “Here Comes The Cast” Featurette
'Here Comes The Boom' is out on DVD and Blu-ray from today, and is available to purchase at amazon.co.uk.