'Here Comes The Boom' a crowd pleaser

Liz Braun, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:48 AM ET

Kevin James is a fighter and a lover in Here Comes The Boom, a crowd pleaser about a biology teacher who gets into mixed martial arts fighting.

Kindly hold your applause.

James stars as Scott Voss, a high school teacher who has lost all interest in teaching. He's kind of a likeable badass, but he's an apathetic one. Voss and the school he teaches in are mired in ennui; only Marty, the music teacher (Henry Winkler), seems capable of inspiring his students.

Then budget cuts dictate an end to the school's music program. To keep music going (and save Marty's job), Voss rashly announces that he will personally raise the necessary $50,000.

How's a sadsack teacher like him going to raise that kind of money?

To earn more, Voss tries teaching citizenship classes at night to new Americans. One of his students is Nico (retired UFC fighter Bas Rutten), a wild Dutchman with some involvement with mixed martial arts fights. Once Voss finds out how much money both winners and losers get paid in the fight game, he decides to give it a whirl.

Can he fight? Can he win? Can he earn enough to save the music program?

You can guess how this wish fulfillment bonanza works itself out.

Here Comes The Boom is a pleasant enough story that sees James' character renew his enthusiasm for teaching, become a hero to his students, take a lot of poundings from MMA fighters and even flirt with the school nurse (Salma Hayek).

James is funny and generally endearing, but the film's charm comes from the quirky characters operating all around him -- such as Hayek, ferocious in that school nurse role. Likewise, Gary Valentine and Melissa Peterman are loud and funny as misfit parents, Rutten is demented as the fight connection and Henry Winkler is quietly eccentric as the music teacher.

Here Comes The Boom won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's bound to work for the fans. As for Kevin James, Here Comes The Money. Again.


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