Kevin James’ “Here Comes the Boom” comes to DVD and Blu-ray after a theatrical run that showed the former TV funnyman is still a knockout with audiences in this mixed martial arts-themed comedy.
In the film, James (“King of Queens”) plays Scott Voss, a biology teacher who 20 years ago, was a Division I college wrestler. He’s now a biology teacher, and was once a star at that, too. Ten years ago, he was named teacher of the year. But now, he’s lost his motivation; his best days seem behind him, he’s not motivated to teach, and he can’t nab a date with the attractive school nurse, Bella Flores (Salma Hayek).
When school cutbacks threaten the music program, Scott is suddenly inspired. The cutbacks would put Scott’s friend, music teacher Marty Streb (Henry Winkler) out of a job, and the older man has just found out his wife is pregnant.
With the support of Bella, Scott throws himself into raising money, despite apathy from the administration and other teachers. But the extra bucks he’s making teaching citizenship classes aren’t cutting it. The school needs $48,000 to save the program by the end of the school year, and it’s taking too long. Scott stumbles upon a different idea while giving citizenship tutoring to former MMA fighter Niko (Bas Rutten). Seeing he could make $10,000 for losing a top-level MMA fight, Scott decides he’ll get back in shape and attempt to become an MMA fighter, with Niko as his trainer.
As he discovers how to fight, he also re-discovers his will to fight, both in the ring and for the kids he believes in.
The film mixes elements from films like “Nacho Libre” and “School of Rock,” and while it’s all a bit far-fetched, it’s done with humor and good feeling. James and Winkler have good comedic chemistry throughout. UFC personnel are showcased in cameo and small roles, and the fights are handled in an interesting and fairly realistic way. Though there is some in-ring violence, this film is suitable for all but the youngest viewers.
Critics may have thoughts “Boom” was a low blow, but families and MMA fans will enjoy this lighthearted comedy.
Blu-ray extras include a look at the recently closed Boston high school used to shoot most of the film and a featurette on Kevin James’ MMA training, among others.
— Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman