Fist Fight – 4 out of 5
A big reason I run is so I can lose weight and not be the gross fatty that I am. The secondary reason I do it is to avoid fights. I’m soft and weak and tend to urinate myself and cry when struck. Hell, recently I pissed off a bunch of Men’s Rights Activists on Twitter when I insinuated that they hate women and can’t get laid. They weren’t so mad about mentioning their hatred for women. Anyway, I’ve never been in a legit, meet-me-outside-at-this-specified-time type of fight. Yeah, there’s been a minor scuffle or two but never a real fight. So, I’ve never been in a situation that is illustrated in Fist Fight. Even without the experience, I watched it and found it very fun. Not educational, though, so I’m still not ready to brawl with the MRA's of Twitter.
|Tracy Morgan's first movie after his accident...and he was fantastic in it.|
On the last day before summer vacation at Roosevelt High School in Atlanta, the students are running amok and the teachers are on edge because all their jobs are on the line. English teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) is really in a tight spot as he has a new baby on the way and his daughter is having a recital later on in the afternoon he’s supposed to help with but also has his interview to keep his job at the same time. After an incident with a student gets violent, history teacher Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube) is fired from his job and blames it on Campbell and challenges him to a fight after school. Now Campbell is going out of his mind trying to get out of the inevitable beating he is going to take and keep his job at the same time.
|Strickland wasn't after the student. The desk had a mouth on it...|
and talking desks are scary as shit.
|Jillian Bell is just hysterical. She comes in fast with|
memorable moments and left me with split sides.
In different hands, Fist Fight might have been a grating, R-rated comedy that aims low with the sophomoric humor but it rest well on the shoulders of its leads and supporting players. I’m not going to pretend that this movie isn’t immature and childish in a lot of its humor but it works for the tone that it establishes. The film is basically two grown men acting like dumb teenagers and the humor reflects that. I have nothing against toilet and dick-based humor but when it is utilized in the wrong setting, it comes off poorly. Fist Fight never acts on any delusions that it is a highbrow comedic feature but rather a silly, raunchy and violent affair. It never feels like it is gratuitous as it makes use of its material and R-rating and just seems to work with its crass exterior.
|Little kids being vulgar, always funny.|
As I mentioned, a big reason this comedy worked is due to its performers. Charlie Day and Ice Cube have a great victim/bully relationship that works off each actor extremely effectively as it plays to their strengths. Day is very good at playing the push over who eventually gets pushed too far and it’s fun to watch him grow and get pushed to his breaking point. Ice Cube is just intimidating AF as Stricken and that’s all I really need to say about that.
|I was going to make a joke about Ice Cube having a good day but that face|
makes it look like even the screencap will do an efficient job of kicking my
ass so I'll just skip it.
|Even in small roles, Nanjiani delivers in big ways.|
The dude is hysterical.
Other members of the cast all either intimately understand their characters—like Dean Norris as the school’s principal—or are very talented and proven comedic players who bring in bright little and memorable moments of hilarity—players like Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell and Kumail Nanjiani. Yes, some of the humor may be sophomoric and a lot of the jokes are things we seen done before but they are handled by people who really know what they are doing and it keeps the film from feeling like a generic comedy or something that’s just a cheap rehash of tiresome gags.
|You would think all of his experience fighting the Night Man would have|
helped in this match.
Fist Fight succeeded for me because all of its ingredients were used correctly and in the right amounts. The story has a simple premise that doesn’t try to overdo itself with needless fluff, the jokes are childish and crass but work for the tone the feature is presenting, and the cast are all proven performers and are very funny at making the product work. This one definitely was balancing on the edge of a knife and could have easily been a comedy that fell flat for me but what I actually found was a very fun and entertaining piece of entertainment that had me laughing a lot harder than I thought I would.