Kevin James has had great success in television, especially on King of Queens, but his success in film has been almost the exact opposite with recent duds including Zookeeper and Grown Ups. Once again, James is teaming up with Zookeeper director Frank Coraci for Here Comes the Boom. Can they bring the thunder this time around or does the film only produce a soft thud?
Scott Voss (James) is an aging biology teacher who once wrestled in high school when his friend and fellow teacher Marty (Henry Winkler) is about to be fired because of school budget cuts. Determined to keep his friend employed, Scott decides to enter MMA fights in order to raise the $48,000 needed. Problem is he hasn’t done anything that even closely resembles exercise in years. Still, money is money and he gets paid regardless of whether or not he wins or loses.
James has always played the loveable buffoon and Here Comes the Boom is no different. He’s an expert at making a fool at himself, whether it’s getting knocked out by a first round punch, or puking homemade applesauce all over his opponent. This time around, though, it’s actually somewhat funny. He’s a little edgier with his persistent attitude and actually seems like he knows what he’s doing in the octagon by the end of the film. Plus, he drives a motorcycle, and we all know those make you cool, right?
Audiences love a good underdog story and this is clearly one of them. It’s impossible not to root for a guy who is fighting for his mentor’s job, literally. That being said, it also makes the film extremely predictable. You can pretty much gather the entire plot from watching just the trailers. There are no real surprises, at least in terms of the story.
The biggest surprise happens to be Niko (Bas Rutten), an immigrant from Holland studying to become an American who trains Scott to fight. While it helps that Rutten is a former UFC fighter himself, the man can be quite the comedic actor as well. Even though he plays a stereotypical immigrant, his humor is spot on, and he manages to steal every scene he’s in.
Here Comes the Boom is the best thing to come from Kevin James in a long time. While that’s not saying much considering his last few films, it shows that there may be more to him than I initially thought. There are some decent MMA scenes and the supporting cast manages to keep things afloat for long enough. You just need to get over the constant repetition of P.O.D.’s “Boom”, and you should be in for some decent laughs.