Fist Fight: A Review
Based on promotional material you would think Fist Fight would be a god awful movie. It looks like a cash grab for everyone involved and the plot seems thinner than notebook paper. I am happy to say that the trailers are a bit misleading, and like Why Him? which released late last year, looks can be deceiving. Full disclosure, I am a huge Charlie Day fan. I have loved It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia since its first season and I will root for anything with those guys in it, even Katelyn "Larry Bird" Olson. There are lots of other really funny people in Fist Fight and they all combine to make a passable comedy movie, all be it not one that will appeal to everyone. Read further to find out a little more about why I found this movie entertaining.
Right off the bat, Fist Fight is rated R. So many of these types of comedies end up being rated PG13 to try to attract the largest audience possible. Fist Fight does not do this and does a good job reaping the rewards. They are able to take some of the jokes to some really funny places because they are not limited by the rating, and of course they can curse! Most of the time this actually ends up being a crutch, the writers rely on throwing a tons of curse words into the script to get a few extra laughs. Fist Fight suffers from this problem a bit, but I have seen much worse and most of the offense takes place in the latter half of the movie when the plot is both literally and metaphysically going off the rails. The first half however is genuinely funny, it's the last day of school and this years seniors have some pretty great stuff planned for the teachers. "Pranks" has become a taboo word since it was ruined by morons on YouTube, but Fist Fight has some funny original one, mixed with some that seem to be written by 12 year olds.
Ice Cube to me is best in smaller bursts. In my opinion his best role to date is 21 Jump Street when he did not have to lead a movie, but was given some really funny lines to deliver with the utmost seriousness. He often comes off as the same character to me in all his roles, and while Fist Fight is no different, I think Cube fits better here than he has in the past. There is something different about his no nonsense tough guy this time around. I think he may be written better than his characters normally are but he could just be getting a lot better at comedic timing. As mentioned before I love Charlie Day. He is the true star of the movie as he occupies most of the screen time. I thought I would have trouble separating him from his character in IASIP, but after the first 10 or so minutes that wore off and he had created something fresh. Tracy Morgan has some insanely funny lines in his feature film return, and Jillian Bell of Workaholics fame is also her normal nutty self. Another actor I usually am not terribly excited by is Dean Norris who most people know as Hank from Breaking Bad among tons of other stuff. He is surprisingly funny here as the overworked principle and he fills the role so well. Christina Hendrix is thrown in for sex appeal, I can only guess this is the case or possibly she had a bigger role that was cut out.
Fist Fight actually does an interesting thing with its characters that I did not expect in a goofy comedy movie. If there can really be spoilers in this movie I may be getting close to that category so if that is a problem for you maybe skip this paragraph. There are clearly defined reasons why Ice Cube's character wants to fight Charlie Day's character, and in the beginning you are clearly on one side. As the movie goes you slowly start to shift and take sides with the other, and this kind of fits into the whole theme of the movie. Yes this movie has a defined theme! maybe now you are kind of seeing why I like this movie more than i thought I would. These characters are real people, with real motivations that the viewer can get behind, and again they maybe step over a few lines by the end, but it's supposed to be entertaining right?
It probably feels like an insulting, how often I refer to my surprise at the quality of Fist Fight, so this final paragraph I will not mention it once. Fist Fight overall is OK. I found some of the jokes really funny, and was able to forgive some of the issues that may bug other people. Not every comedy movie has to be as good as Step Brothers or The Hangover, there is room for some funny movies that don't have 3 movie stars and constant improv. Like Why Him? and Office Christmas Party I think that this movie will get overlooked and possibly fall into obscurity but I hope it can find some people who like it and maybe even get played a bit on HBO or TBS. I would not say run out to the theater before it is taken out, but reserve judgement. You may be surprised with a movie that you like more than you thought you would. Shoot I almost made it the whole paragraph.