Comfort food isn’t designed to be exciting. Excitement means something new, and the entire point of comfort food is to make you feel exactly like you did the last time you ate it.
Kevin James, star of the new teacher-meets-the-UFC movie “Here Comes the Boom,” is the Hollywood equivalent of comfort food.
His movies all follow a tried-and-true recipe: a leading man who radiates self-esteem issues and basic decency, ludicrous plot contrivances, and a warmhearted ending that will make the entire film more likeable than it has any right to be. Nothing here deserves a prize, but sometimes a nice, big helping of mashed potatoes and gravy is all you’re really looking for.
In “Boom,” James is a high school teacher who’s lost his faith in whether or not he can make a difference. When his school threatens to cut the music program to make up a serious budget shortfall Р and, by extension, fire a dazed-looking Henry Winkler Р James rashly promises to fill in the gap. Eventually, this leads to mixed martial arts.
James plays essentially the same earnest, hardworking, outcast figure he was in “Zookeeper” and “Mall Cop,” though in “Boom” he’s allowed to be a touch more self-serving. The only reason it works is that the standard James character is a pleasant guy to spend time with, funny without being gross and sweet enough that you want things to work out for him.
Henry Winkler is equally affable, though vague and spacey enough that his character doesn’t ever really gel. He’s there mostly to forget things and deliver homilies about the importance of music, though the few scenes with a full student orchestra communicate the latter much more effectively.
Charice, playing a student who really believes in the power of both music and education, is adorable without being syrupy. Salma Hayek, filling the standard role of James’ improbably hot love interest, keeps the saucy Latina shtick to reasonably mature levels.
The tone of the movie mixes two well-known tracks of reliable inspiration Р the dedicated teacher invigorating his/her class and the sports underdog making it big.
For more information check out the Oct 18 edition of Davis Clipper.