"Here Comes the Boom": Pandering Morality for Dopes

Here Comes the Boom confronts the crisis in our nation's public schools, and multiplexes, for even an affable, saccharine, rudimentary comedy that looks like top of the class today. When impending budget cuts threaten to cancel his school's extracurricular programs, coasting biology teacher Scott Voss (Kevin James) is galvanized into action, deciding his college-wrestling experience is qualification for a trip on the mixed-martial-arts circuit, despite being 42 years old, to earn some quick paychecks the hard way. The schoolteacher-moonlighting-in-MMA character also appeared in last year's male weepie Warrior, played by Joel Edgerton, though Boom invests further in the fix-our-failing-schools issue making the rounds: Call it Waiting for Superman Punch. Co-written by James as a custom vehicle for his girthy physical comedy and nimble backpedaling delivery, Boom was produced under the auspices of pal Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions, which has a tendency toward broad-comic morality tales and multiplex populism that often shades into remedial-level pandering. And so, a movie that stirringly makes the recapturing of professional motivation its subject also resorts to such devices as the "waking to the alarm clock under credits" opening, the moldering fundraiser premise, the Dead Poets Society canard that inspirational teaching has something to do with standing on desks, and such outright sloppiness as a scene where the school nurse whom Voss unsuccessfully courts (Salma Hayek) suddenly, inexplicably is walking around his apartment in her pajamas.

 
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