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Fist Fight Review

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With some of the best episodes of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia under his belt (Mac Day, The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre), director Richie Keen is making the jump to the big screen with Fist Fight, teaming up once again with Charlie Day for a crude, high concept comedy about two teachers who plan to fight each other at the end of the school day. But even with some serious comedy muscle behind it, Fist Fight collapse under the weight of lazy storytelling and humour that is more miss than hit.


It’s the last day of school at Roosevelt High School, and the teachers are at the mercy of the students who are running wild with increasingly chaotic pranks. While mild mannered English teacher Mr. Campbell (Day) is just trying to get through the day, hard ass history teacher Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube) intimates his students into behaving. A convoluted series of events sees Campbell responsible for Strickland getting fired, forcing an after school fight between the pair.

While Fist Fight starts off strong enough, the lily livered Campbell proving to be a nice foil for the hard as nails Strickland, but once the set up is out of the way and the clock ticking until the post school fisticuffs, the story screeches to a halt and lazily goes through the motions, throwing every crude trope and cliche at the wall to get a laugh out of the audience. And the big problem here is that the story is just not that funny. In fact, it can be down right mean in places, Keen not really finding the sweet spot between mean and funny like he could in Always Sunny. Bar one big laugh that comes far too late in the day, Fist Fight wheels out tired joke after tired joke, with one landing for every five that unfunnily slaps against the wall. The bulk of the narrative follows Campbell's futile attempts to weasel out of fighting Strickland, and there just isn’t enough there to make the story interesting. The outcome of a sub plot involving the school’s staff can be seen from the opening frame, and the way it intersects with the main plot is contrived and down right insulting to the audience.

The cast do try their best with the material they’re given, but struggle fruitlessly to make it work. Day’s transformation from lily livered nerd to screaming psychopath (the mode Day usually works best in) doesn’t entirely ring true, and Ice Cube just rolls out the same hard ass schtick he’s been trading in for the last few years now. The supporting cast, including genuinely funny actors in the form of Tracey Morgan, Kumail Nanjiani and Jillian Bell, just fades into the background, and can someone have a serous talk with Christina Hendricks’ agent? This is the second movie in three months (the other being Bad Santa 2) that you could remove her completely and nothing about the movie would change.

With some serious comedy talent at its disposal, Fist Fight ultimately wastes everything with a lazy plot and painfully unfunny humour.






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The Movie Bit: Fist Fight Review
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