Charlie Day and Ice Cube go head to head as two teachers who are different ends of the teaching spectrum. Day plays Andy Campbell, the English Teacher who is about to become a Father again, while Ice Cube plays Strickland, the teacher that no one messes with. When a last day of the school year prank by one of the students forces Strickland to go all Charles Bronson with an Axe in front of Campbell it leads to Strickland getting fired. Strickland then challenges the mild-mannered Campbell to a fight at the end of the day, leading Campbell to spend the day trying to work out a way to avoid the fight. Adding to the pressure is that on this final day of school the students are playing pranks, all the teachers have to defend their jobs, a talent contest for Campbell’s daughter, and the baby is due. What else could go wrong.
I’m a huge fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I only got into the series in season three and now in season twelve the quality is just as good as it was back then. Seeing as Day wrote about a third of the episodes of It’s Always Sunny I was a little disappointed that he didn’t have a hand in writing any of this film. Also this film went a long way for Ice Cube to repair the damage in my head that came from Ride Along 2. That film was so unfunny it left me in shock for three days. But I’m all about second chances and just reading IMDB I can see I might have to offer him a third chance as well because he must need the money to go back for Ride Along 3. But lets just look at Fist Fight.
Fist Fight is far from perfect and it suffers a little from the same problem that most American Comedies have, they don’t go far enough. Granted a lot of American Comedies these days are just unfunny altogether, just cashing in on the names of the stars who collect huge pay checks rather than bringing the funny. There were so many chances here for the film to leave me rolling around the aisles of the cinema that were just left to one side. Through the film I kept thinking about the National Lampoon series of films and while they had their moments in the early films, a lot of the later ones were far from anything you’d call a comedy. Fist Fight feels like one of the slightly better National Lampoon films from their mid section of life.
I laughed, I can’t deny that. But most of the laughter came from Tracy Morgan and the magnificent Jillian Bell who just stole the show for me as the School Counsellor who takes drugs before coming to school and wants to sleep with a few of the Seniors. In fact I’ll go as far as this, Jillian Bell is the movie, I could watch a film about her character once they kept her insanity up to that level or even push it a little.
Fist Fight is an okay comedy that has great moments. The fight that happens between Charlie Day and Ice Cube is funny, although Day shows some moves that leaves you wondering where this mild-mannered man would learn to fight like that, you don’t think about that stuff for too long. The Students and their pranks, along with the Talent Show, add more humour to the film. It’s the chances for the comedy to be elevated that really make you shake your head in disappointment. They could have blasted us away with great jokes and over the top humour, all the components were there for them to do this. Push the envelope next time. It’s what the people want.
Director: Richie Keen
Writers: Van Robichaux, Evan Susser, Max Greenfield
Stars: Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan