Most people know Kevin James from his "King of Queens" television show which is still very popular in syndication to this day. He's also made several movies with varying levels of success although it seems he has definitely found a niche making wacky comedies that are meant to draw in the family audience. Based on how much fun "Here Comes the Boom" is, this could end up being his biggest success to date.
The story is pretty straight forward as we have former teacher of the year Scott Voss (James) who now days just shows up to collect a paycheck. With the high school looking at budget cuts that would eliminate some of the school's programs, Voss uncharacteristically takes it upon himself to lead an effort to raise money and save the jobs of his fellow teachers including Marty Streb (Henry Winkler) who runs the music program and would be first in line on the chopping block.
After struggling to rally his friends and co-workers, he runs across what might be the most unlikely of solutions. After watching a mixed martial arts contest on television and seeing what kind of prize money is involved compared to how much is needed to cover the budget deficit, Voss thinks back to his high school and college wrestling background and decides that getting in the octagon is something he can and will do. Of course, everyone else thinks this is a foolish idea that is destined to fail, but this only strengthens his resolve and thus begins a feel good story that will have you cheering and laughing throughout.
That's the basic idea of the story although there are a couple subplots involving fellow teacher and potential love interest Bella Flores (Salma Hayek) as well as music student Malia (Charice) who is dealing with issues both at school and with her family. Director Frank Coraci does a good job keeping things moving along and, even with a lot of different things going on, the pacing never bogs down like a lot of other movies in this genre tend to do.
James does an outstanding job playing a character that has a lot of heart and determination while mixing in the physical comedy he is known for without it ever going too far over the top. Winkler and Hayak both do a decent enough job in their roles and we also get entertaining performances from Bas Rutten who plays Scott's trainer Niko and Gary Valentine who has a small supporting role as Scott's brother Eric.
Most of the movies Kevin James has starred in (Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Zookeeper come to mind) just seemed to zany and out there to interest me at all so I was a little skeptical about this one as well. Fortunately, he tones down the wackiness just enough and finds a sweet spot that will appeal to pretty much anyone that is currently breathing.
"Here Comes the Boom" has some seriously hilarious moments, tells a story that is as heartwarming as it is entertaining, and should leave audiences very happy with the end result. If you don't like having fun and laughing a lot, then you should stay away from this movie.