FIST FIGHT (0 out of 10) Directed by Richie Keen; Screenplay by Van Robichaux and Evan Susser; Starring Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan and Jillian Bell; Rated R for language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug material; Running time 91 minutes; In wide release February 17, 2017.
Raunchy comedies are fun. Especially ones where people who are normally seen as reserved or “proper” really let loose and act completely out of character. Which is why Fist Fight seemed like such a fun idea going in. Teachers generally must keep their tempers under control and let the insults and pranks of their ill-mannered students roll off them, so the thought of seeing them give those kids their due should have worked wonders. Nothing could be further from the truth as Fist Fight is one of the least funny and worst movies in years.
It’s the last day of school, and the seniors are going crazy playing their final pranks before leaving high school forever. Caught in the middle is milquetoast English teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) who lets his students walk all over him, and tough-as-nails Ron Strickland (Ice Cube) whose students fear but at least show him a modicum of respect. To add to their stress, the school is going through budget cuts, and several non-performing teachers are about to be laid off. Strickland takes discipline too far and both he and Andy are called before the principal to explain what happened. Andy’s wife is due to give birth to their second child any moment and, desperate to keep his job, he snitches on Strickland which ends with the latter losing his job. Enraged, Strickland challenges Andy to a fight after school ends, and wackiness ensues as Andy does whatever he can to get out of the eventual beating he is bound to receive.
The absolute biggest issue with Fist Fight is that it doesn’t have an ounce of humor in it. I literally laughed once just before it was over at an incredibly stupid sight gag that had nothing to do with the plot or what was going on. The pranks the students play are just mean spirited and cruel, and I’m unsure how anyone is supposed to find them humorous unless maybe vandalism, drug and animal abuse and homophobia are things to chuckle at. Is statutory rape funny? The writers apparently thought so since a female teacher (Jillian Bell) is constantly making graphic jokes about all the things she wants to do to the underage male students, specifically because they are underage. Or maybe sweet, little, six year-old kids suddenly rapping about “bitches and hoes” and dropping random “F” bombs to humiliate a girl she didn’t like was supposed to be charming.
The problem is that dirty movies are fun when they know what they’re trying to do. There is a time and place for sex jokes and foul language in a film, but it must be tempered with a follow through and know how that the writers have a plan for what’s taking place. Fist Fight is the equivalent of an eight year-old learning how to swear and using Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words every other sentence in the hope of eliciting a reaction or a laugh. This gets neither.
The worst part is that it completely wastes the comic talents of everyone involved and turns the audience against the actors. Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell and everyone else are extremely talented and can do a lot better than this. But by the end of the film, the thought of seeing them again in anything made me nauseated. And as someone who is a huge Charlie Day and Always Sunny fan, that is unforgiveable.
This was the rare movie that not only made me angry but even more so the next morning after I had a chance to think about it. There was so much potential, but it was completely lost amid the absolute garbage that fills this movie. It’s not funny, it’s boring and deserves to be buried forever in the cesspool of February movies. Just forget it even exists and go about your happy day knowing that you didn’t have to slog through what will be heralded as one of the worst of the year.
0 out of 10