Report Card on ‘Fist Fight’ is a Failing Grade

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Average: 5 (1 vote) Oscarman rating: 0.0/5.0
Rating: 0.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “Fist Fight” is such a thin premise it can’t even sustain its own two minute trailer, much less a feature length film. That premise, what there is of it, is simple – English teacher (Charlie Day) and History Teacher (Ice Cube) get involved in an altercation with a student on the last day of class, at a failing high school known for senior pranks. Teacher Ice Cube gets fired, and blames Charlie Day. So they act like children and settle their differences with a fist fight outside.

And that’s it. The entire running time is spent with Ice Cube glowering, and Charlie Day sputtering about trying to avoid the impending beatdown. There have been a lot of crappy studio comedies over the past few years, but this one stands out as something you can imagine even Adam Sandler turning down because of its shoddiness.

Confrontation: Charlie Day and Ice Cube in ‘Fist Fight’
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

The film has no basis in reality, and doesn’t even come up with its own zany alternate reality. It’s just lazy and haphazardly slapped together hoping that a few extra F-Bombs will save the day. This is the type of movie where Charlie Day can make two trips to the Apple Store, makes attempts to buy drugs, attempts to plant drugs on Ice Cube, gets arrested, and is released all in the course of a single school day, without anyone noticing he’s gone.

Charlie Day can be a very funny guy on “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” but here he’s left to flounder and flail. It’s like watching a standup comedian start bombing at the start of his set, and then get increasingly frantic in a blind hope that something, anything, will provoke something approaching humor even accidentally before the merciful end.

In order to pad this gruel to achieve the abbreviated running time of your average Rob Schneider vehicle, the filmmakers toss in a whole scrapbook of spare parts and subplots which only seem to prolong the misery of everyone involved. There are some half hearted life lessons, Charlie Day’s wife is expecting any minute, and then there’s his daughter’s talent show at a different school which Day is in danger of missing. This culminates in the now threadbare gag of an 8 year-old white girl dropping F-Bombs as she raps.

Tracy Morgan and Jillian Bell Lend a Hand in ‘Fist Fight’
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Jillian Bell is also on board as a meth head guidance counselor, with the eye of a sexual predator hoping to be the next Mary Kay Letourneau. Tracy Morgan, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert, Dean Norris, and Kumail Nanjani all dutifully cash their paychecks for this one, while failing to do anything with the laugh-free lines they are given. This movie seems to think the prospect of Ice Cube attacking a student and a desk with a fire axe is inherently funny…it’s not.

In watching this film, I so wanted to see one of those old fashioned vaudeville hooks just pull everyone off the frame and end it all. This is a movie that barely runs 90 minutes but felt like I had watched ‘Titanic.’ Twice.

”Fist Fight” opens everywhere on February 17th. Featuring Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani and Dennis Haysbert. Screenplay by Van Robichaux and Evan Susser. Directed by Richie Keen. Rated “R” contributor Spike Walters


© 2017 Spike Walters,

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