|Kevin James and Company in "Here Comes the Boom"|
The movie is especially poignant for anyone who loves music and for anyone who teaches. At one point in the movie, Henry Winkler says, "We inspire. That's what teachers do."
That quotation hit me in a special way that evening in the movie theatre. Earlier in the day, I'd had a guest speaker talk to the students in my Creative Writing for Publication class at Waukesha County Technical College. The guest, Heidi Stacy, recently published an awesome book called "Back Rub-a-Dubs" Heidi described the hard work it took to publish and promote the book. She said it was worth it, though, because her book is part of her mission - to promote emotional health in families.
I keep telling my students that's what writing is about. We write because we care deeply about something. That's our fuel. Heidi's words inspired my students.
"Here Comes the Boom" manages to convey a beautiful message about human purpose while remaining fully entertaining. Winkler plays a high school orchestra teacher whose program - and livelihood - is in jeopardy due to school budget problems. Kevin James plays a burned-out biology teacher who decides to save the day by raising the needed bucks through fighting in mixed martial arts matches. Win or lose the matches, he earns money - and hands it over to the high school. In the process, he falls in love again with teaching. Like a healthy cell in a sick organism, he invigorates the whole school and the system begins to heal itself.
My husband and I left the theatre feeling good, which is a nice way to leave a movie. Mike commented, "Kevin James hasn't gone overboard like Zach Galifianakis." A dead-on comment. Kevin James has managed to keep to movies with fairly clean humor. And how can you not like Kevin James? I've got a kick out of him ever since I got hooked on re-runs of "The King of Queens." He's Joe Normal, very attractive in his own way... and I thoroughly identify with his weight struggles.
The movie had some obvious flaws. Bigger than the fairy tale of a middle-aged ex-jock doing well in mixed martial arts is the fairy tale that fifty grand could mend an ailing school budget. It was hard for me to watch Kevin James get beat up again and again, even though I knew he was acting. It wasn't Rocky saying "Cut me, Doc," but it was still harsh. I had to cover my eyes and ears during one scene where Salma Hayak re-sets James's dislocated shoulder. Shudder. (PS Salma looks amazing, even wearing scrubs.) And I've seen just about enough puking scenes for the rest of my life, thank you very much, "Here Comes the Boom" and "Pitch Perfect." At least in "Boom," we have a logical explanation for the puking, and it isn't quite as voluminously projectile as it was in "Pitch Perfect." But really? Puking? It's just not funny. I'd like to petition Hollywood for no puking - and no peeing, for that matter - in any movie, ever again.
Teacher Gail movie grade: a solid B.