By George M. Thomas
|Charlie Day and Ice Cube in Fist Fight.|
FIST FIGHT wants to be so much more than the lowbrow comedy that it quickly reveals itself to be.
Director Richie Keen (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and his story team (is there a better way to refer to multiple screenwriter?) want very much to make a statement about the education system from all sides and rarely come up with any success in that area.
Lowbrow? That they can do. Serious satire? That escapes them.
Perhaps it’s because they tell the story from the perspective of two teachers who aren’t very…ummmm…sympathetic to start.
On the final day of school Mr. Campbell (Charlie Day) is trying to ensure that he keeps his job by going with the flow. Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube) ? He wants to fight the power, going against things to bring attention to how deficient the system is.
Through it all, the duo butt heads in a major way. When Campbell watches as Strickland intentionally loses it on disrespectful students as he attempts mostly in vain to impart knowledge. After taking an axe to a desk, Strickland and Campbell find themselves in the principal’s office where Strickland is promptly fired.
Moments later, the now unemployed teacher challenges Campbell, his new nemesis, to a fight after school, something throws him into a state of walking hysteria.
Fist Fight takes on a lot of school issues, including aforementioned rowdy, disrespectful students dealing with burned out teachers who can’t wait to flee from them. Along the way the screenplay provides running commentary about the state of America’s schools. It even manages to throw in a running gag about teacher-student sexual relationships.
For some, that will be a line crossed. Then again perhaps not. What it does add up to is a gargantuan steaming pile. Yes, FIST FIGHT delivers a few laughs – the kind that make you want to take a shower.
If there’s any joy in the film it comes courtesy of watching Day do a devolution into temporary insanity. Beyond that, there’s not a lot to recommend.
Movie: FIST FIGHT
Director: Richie Keen
Cast: Ice Cube, Charlie Day
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rated: R for language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug material.
Running time: 91 minutes
George’s rating: 1-of-4 stars
Check for theaters and show times at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com