Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Cinema File #106: "Here Comes The Boom" Review

Bless you Henry Winkler, for consistently being the one bright spot in movies that otherwise suck massive dinosaur balls.

So I finally got around to watching Here Comes The Boom, the latest Kevin James vehicle designed to convince me despite all evidence to the contrary that he's a legitimate leading man. I waited for video, as I just couldn't justify spending the money to see it in theaters, and I have to say, that decision has been vindicated. In my Silver Linings Playbook review, I noted that it felt like they took an Adam Sandler movie, took out Sandler and his sensibility, and replaced it with indie quirkiness. Here Comes The Boom feels like they did the same thing, except they forgot to replace the Sandler humor with anything, and just shrugged their shoulders as everything fell flat. Okay, to be fair, it doesn't quite suck dinosaur balls. Its not awful, but its awfully bland, and I can't recommend it.

I definitely get the sense that the makers of this movie never quite knew just what kind of movie they wanted to make. Is it a goofball comedy? A Stand and Deliver style inspirational teacher drama? A fist pump inducing underdog sports movie? By the end, its all of these and none of these, trying so weakly to hit all the requisite story beats without ever displaying any passion to actually follow through with any of them. There's no inspiration or fist pumps to be had (and certainly no goofballing going on). Its not offensively bad necessarily, and I was never annoyed or insulted by it; it was just empty space for 90 minutes until I moved on to something else. Its like The Watch, except without the aliens and special effects work that gave me a brief few minutes of visual stimulus.

As I mentioned above, the only real bright spot is Henry Winkler as the sympathetic band teacher whose precarious employment situation provides the macguffin stakes for the film. I can't even say that he's all that funny, but he brings more charm to the proceedings than would have otherwise been there, and with the utter dearth of other things to find entertaining or engaging, I found that his performance stood out. I'm not really a fan of MMA, so I can't really speak to how the movie treats the sport, though it seems like every bit the love letter to it, and has the tacit support of famous MMA enthusiast Joe Rogan who makes a cameo as himself. Still, even with my limited knowledge of the sport, I think this movie would have done better either as a more serious take akin to the Tom Hardy film Warrior, or a more obvious parody of it, rather than falling into this nebulous realm in between.

Here Comes The Boom is every feel good cookie cutter comedy you've ever seen, where you know exactly how its going to end up and how you're going to feel by the end of it. The obstacles are all ultimately easily surmountable, good triumphs over evil, the guy gets the girl, and everything turns out alright. I get how that could be enough for some people, and if you just want to relax for a little while with something that you don't have to engage with too much, this is as fine a choice as anything. Personally, I just felt that, given the set up, it wasn't gritty or subversive enough to merit the effort.

In short, I was expecting a little more Boom, what with the warning expressed in the title.

Yeah, I know, I suck.
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