Here Comes the Boom is full of, well, “boom,” but not the kind of “boom” that will win any awards. Rather, the film is riddled with over the top comedic antics and wacky characters inserted to distract from the utterly predictable fairy tale dream story it produces. I tend to writhe at the concept of any film that manages to fulfill the dreams of every one of its character, ultimately answering everyone’s prayers with the life that’s been just outside their reach.
In the film, Kevin James, who I do find quite funny, plays Scott Voss, a high school biology teacher who’s lost his lust for life and teaching. He persistently chases the saucy Latin, Salma Hayek, who plays the school nurse, with no return of affection. His life is at stand still until he is moved by an inspiring music teacher, delightfully played by Henry Winkler, who truly believes in the wealth and ability of music to change the lives of its students. After a budget cut meeting, the music program is threatened, and James’s Scott decides that he must do something to raise the money to save it. The answer comes via Scott’ second job, a naturalization class where he teaches American history to immigrants working on earning citizenship. There Scott meets Niko, played by the mixed martial arts legend Bas Rutten. With Niko’s help, Scott hatches a scheme: become an MMA fighter, thus earning money whenever he enters the ring – even if loses.
What makes Here Come the Boom passable entertainment is the charm and energy of its cast. Bas Rutten is a stand out with his over the top friendliness. Kevin James does what he does best, playing a sometimes oafish, yet lovably determined good guy with a snappy wit and a heart willing to take a beating. I will also give him credit for the obvious training he put into this role to make himself believable as a fighter. Unfortunately, it’s just not enough to accept that he could ever really be a contender in Mixed Martial Arts fighting.
Not that believability is one of the film’s chief concerns. Ultimately this is a tale of pandering inspiration: believing in yourself, lead by example, be passionate about life, and all of that. It’s fun and charismatic, but it only really engages the audience on simple terms and predictable, one-liner laughs. But as long as your expectations are for mindless fun, grab some popcorn, a 96 ounce soda, and find your recliner.