Cheating on a test… stealing someone’s lunch money… and fighting after school are part of the unwritten underbelly of a school day. Perhaps by disagreement, major beefs or just sheer jealousy has led to many a riff, only to be answered by the bell at 3pm. “Catch these hands” currently is the street vernacular for fighting today, and aptly describes the plot for the movie “Fist Fight.”
“Fist Fight” is the latest film by Ice Cube, playing a hard-nosed History teacher in a school that lacks discipline and control. It’s the last day of school when most students lose all manner of decorum… they are just ready for the summer to begin. Usually a day filled with pranks, cutting class, and desecration of school grounds and property, this is the backdrop and scenario for the movie.
Charlie Day plays an English teacher who, much like the students, is ready for the school year to end and all he wants to do is survive the purge – until the day he crosses the meanest teacher in the school. An interesting premise, with wild high jinx factor, but can this movie be good?
“Fist Fight” is a surprisingly funny movie, well beyond what the trailers showed. Secondary stories help flesh out Charlie Day’s character, who exhibits some growth beyond the funny premise of two teachers fighting after school. Unfortunately, this role is the story that grows, all the other roles are “one note” as they are the same person from beginning to the end of the movie. Fortunately, they choose talent (Tracey Morgan, Jillian Bell) who are comedians – that usually play the same type of character in every movie they’re in.
Where this movie stalls is by drawing out the story until we get to the fight. As a simple premise that takes place over one school day, the film desperately tries to keep your interest until the fists fly – with unrealistic moments that couldn’t have been packaged during the duration of a school day. The saving grace for “Fist Fight” is the chemistry between Ice Cube & Charlie Day and their comedic timing – displayed as they adroitly switch back and forth between the straight man and the punch line.
Overall, “Fist Fight” is an entertaining film with moments that will make you laugh and a storyline that takes place over one day. This film should have been “22 Jump Street” meets “Horrible Bosses,” but it wound up as “Ride Along 2” meets “Horrible Bosses 2”. I would love to see Ice Cube and Charlie Day take another crack at a movie together, so my advice to Ice Cube and Charlie Day… put your hands down and treat us to another movie. Or else… I’ll meet you both… at 3 o’clock!