‘Here Comes The Boom’ has some boom, but few laughs

Kevin James gets tough in 'Here Comes the Boom'
Kevin James gets tough in ‘Here Comes the Boom’

My worst fear when going to see a film that’s supposed to be a comedy is that I’ve already seen the best parts of the film in the trailer.  Aside from two or three good, but minor laughs in Here Comes the Boom, this fear came to true.

Kevin James is “Scott Voss”, a biology teacher who was teacher of the year ten years ago and apparently went into an immediate and rapid decline.  Now he sits in his classroom, reading the newspaper and waiting for the days to end.  But when the school’s principal, “Principal Betcher” (Greg Germann) announces that severe budget problems will cause the school to cancel all extracurricular programs, including the music program run by  “Marty Streb” (Henry Winkler), he wants to take action.

Salma Hayek is the world's sexiest school nurse in 'Here Comes the Boom'
Salma Hayek is the world’s sexiest school nurse in ‘Here Comes the Boom’

So Scott commits to raising the $48,000 needed to keep Marty’s job.  He looks for a solution to this problem while at the same time trying to woo the school’s very attractive nurse, “Bella Flores” (Selma Hayek), who shoots him down repeatedly.

Suddenly he finds an idea while tutoring his friend “Niko” (Bas Rutten), who is studying to take the test to become a U.S. citizen.  Niko and friends are watching a UFC fight on TV and when Scott hears that the guy who lost the fight got $10,000 for the effort, dollar signs light up in his eyes.  He begs Niko to train him and the odyssey is on.  Scott begins fighting at the very bottom of the MMA food chain and hopes to lose enough fights to earn the money needed, turning his cash in after every fight to a sympathetic assistant principal.

You can predict what will happen from here.  There’s a sub-plot about chasing your dreams involving his brother “Eric” (Gary Valentine) who has an unhappy marriage, isn’t happy in his work and has a passion that he wants to pursue.  The bad marriage jokes are among some of the film’s least funny bit.

The notion that a once awesome teacher might be inspired to once again excel in the classroom and inspire his students suffers from believability.  The really good teachers rarely lose that passion and once it is gone it usually stays gone.  If that’s not bad enough, Here Comes the Boom will shamelessly attempt to manipulate your emotions through other implausible events.  I won’t spoil the film’s most unbelievable moments except to say they take place during the film’s climatic fight and there is more than one of them.

Director Frank Coraci, who is a frequent collaborator with both Kevin James and Adam Sandler, usually evokes more laughs in his films than we get here.  While some didn’t like his last movie with James, Zookeeper, it was at least very funny.  This one is not.

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