Movie review: 'Here Comes the Boom' a little ragged but still entertaining

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Before sending the orchestra out into the high school hallways, teacher Marty Streb shares his quote of the day. On this afternoon, it's from Friedrich Nietzsche: "Without music, life would be a mistake."

Laying off Marty Streb would be a mistake, too. But he is headed for the unemployment line unless someone comes up with $48,000 by the end of the school year.

That threat prompts apathetic biology teacher Scott Voss (Kevin James) to try to raise the money by moonlighting as a mixed martial arts fighter in "Here Comes the Boom." Scott was a teacher of the year a decade ago but now sneaks into class late and rebuffs students, inquisitive or otherwise.

Although he doesn't intend to shoulder the fundraising alone, Scott is pretty much a committee of one and decides the only way to get any serious cash is MMA fighting, despite the fact that his only training was as a college wrestler.

'Here Comes the Boom'

2 1/2 stars = Average
Ratings explained
  • Starring: Kevin James, Henry Winkler, Salma Hayek.
  • Rating: PG for bouts of MMA sports violence, some rude humor and language.

If this sounds familiar that's because "Warrior" also featured a teacher who turns to MMA to raise money to save his house and "Won't Back Down" features an educator at a struggling school who rekindles her passion for teaching.

In fact, the principal here uses almost an identical line as in "Warrior" when he chides Scott about "getting beat up in your bathing suit" and someone takes "Won't Back Down" on the radio as a good omen.

Neither of those other movies is a comedy, however, and neither has Mr. James performing his own stunts, Henry Winkler as the revered music teacher and Salma Hayek as the school nurse who slowly warms to Scott as she witnesses his cuts, bruises and devotion.

"Here Comes the Boom" features some real fighters, including Bas Rutten as Niko, Scott's trainer. "You're too old and you have no experience," he decrees, but Scott realizes there is still money to be made in losing.

He's not the only one with a goal or fire to be lit: His brother is in a rut; immigrants are struggling to become American citizens; and a talented student (Charice) is trying her best despite pressure to help with a family business.

Directed by Frank Coraci ("The Wedding Singer," "The Waterboy," "Zookeeper") and written by Mr. James and Allan Loeb, "Here Comes the Boom" is not the most elegantly assembled movie at the multiplex. Transitions often are abrupt and colors so muted at the start that something seems wrong although they warm as the story advances.

Still, it's a crowd-pleaser that makes a case for music in schools -- even financially strained ones -- and for following impossible dreams and not quitting on the kids. Or yourself.


Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: or 412-263-1632. Read her blog:


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