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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Kevin James, Henry Winkler, Salma Hayek, Charice, Joe Rogan, Greg Germann
DIRECTED BY
Frank Coraci
SCREENPLAY
Kevin James, Allan Loeb, Rock Reuben
MPAA RATING
Rated PG
RUNNING TIME
105 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Sony Pictures
DVD EXTRAS
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 16:18):
  •  
  • Gag-reel (HD, 2:26).
  • Here Comes the Cast
  • Gino vs. Ritchie (HD, 3:49):
  •  
  • Back to School (HD, 4:27)
  • Learning How to Fight (HD, 8:49)
  • Three Amigos (HD, 5:39)
  • The Pros (HD, 3:00)
  •  
  • Disco Street Fighting (HD, 2:05):
  •  
  • Previews: Playing for Keeps, Hotel Transylvania, Premium Rush, and Abel's Field.
 "Here Comes the Boom" is Kevin James Being Kevin James 
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Let's see.

Produced by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions.

Check.

Starring Kevin James.

Check.

Co-starring Henry Winkler.

Check.

Good-hearted. Silly. Simple. Formulaic. Funny.

Oh yeah.

I almost forgot. Beautiful woman falling for Mr. Average.

Double check.

Or is that Double D?

I digress.

If you're actually heading into a Kevin James film produced by Happy Madison Productions expecting cinematic greatness, then  you most certainly deserve what you end up getting. If, however, you're heading into a Kevin James film produced by Happy Madison Productions expecting a Kevin James film produced by Happy Madison Productions then you're most likely going to leave the theater Happy. Boy, I wish your name was Madison.

There's not an ounce of brilliance nor originality to be found in Here Comes the Boom, with the possible exception of vague hints of respect towards faith that have seldom ever surfaced in a Happy Madison film. It all starts with the title itself, a reference to a POD song by the same name. For those not in the know, POD is a faith-based rock band, and "Here Comes the Boom" was one of their bigger crossover hits. There's also a couple characters who hint at faith as their guiding influence, a fact not as surprising as the fact that the film doesn't ever make fun of them.

Rest assured, however, that Here Comes the Boom isn't a faith-based film but a film that essentially returns to the roots of early Sandler films and capitalizes on all the things that Kevin James fans love about Kevin James. Here Comes the Boom may be silly, formulaic and frequently sophomoric, but it's also such a good-hearted and spirited film that it's nearly impossible to imagine Kevin James fans not being completely satisfied with his latest effort.

Kevin James plays Scott Voss, a one-time "Teacher of the Year" whose career has burned out just about as much as his chances of scoring a date with his school's beautiful nurse (Salma Hayek). If there were to be a comic version of the recent Won't Back Down, it would probably look an awful lot like this film. In this case, budget cuts are announced and they include the cutting of the entire music program and its beloved teacher (Henry Winkler). The plot is simple - Raise $48,000 and save the music program and a teacher's job.

It's no secret that Voss's remedy to the school's financial woes is to take up being an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter, a decision that he reaches easily after discovering that even a fighter who lost in the UFC on an undercard earned a fat $10,000 payday for his efforts and quick loss.

Don't worry. This ain't Rocky.

Okay, it's kind of Rocky.

It's Rocky without all the dramatics and with amped up silliness that disguises the fact that James and those ever lovin' folks at Happy Madison have assembled another effort where the good guy wins, the bad guy gets a comeuppance and sound byte life lessons are learned along the way.

Audiences really don't want Kevin James to be a master thespian. Audiences want Kevin James to be a nice guy who makes them laugh and who does things that guys like him (HINT: Overweight and older guys) don't usually find themselves doing.

Mission accomplished.

Here Comes the Boom features Kevin James at his family friendliest, playing the kind of roles that Sandler used to play but that he hasn't been able to pull off in recent years. Somehow, James can pull them off even though he's no spring chicken himself. For whatever reason, James can still channel that geeked out inner child and he does so with gloriously silly and funny results here.

The supporting cast is equally fun here, with Henry Winkler's twilight years being given new life through his enfolding into the Happy Madison universe. While he lacks James's "aw shucks" every guy quality, Winkler does manage to convince as that slightly off-kilter music teacher whose hint of insanity is mostly used for good. Winkler plays him as that teacher that you look back at fondly and with the strange realization that you actually did learn valuable life lessons while in his class.

Admit it. You've had a teacher just like that and even thinking about them makes you smile to this day.

In addition to a nice appearance by Salma Hayek, Here Comes the Boom is also gifted by the casting of Charice, a teen Filipino pop star who perfectly plays a young girl whose life will be devastated if the music program gets cut. Joe Rogan is even here satirizing himself as a UFC host. There are other stock characters along the way, most of them courtesy of Voss's stint teaching a citizenship class.

There's no doubt that most film critics are going to despite Here Comes the Boom, and while I'm not about to declare it a masterpiece I have no qualms about saying that anyone who appreciates Kevin James will unquestionably appreciate Here Comes the Boom.

It'll be interesting to see how audiences respond on opening weekend, with Here Comes the Boom opening alongside Ethan Hawke's horror flick Sinister and the Ben Affleck Oscar bait film Argo.  While Argo is a better film, my money's on the comedic booms of Kevin James.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic  
    The Official Rating Guideline
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