Walking into Here Comes the Boom with no expectations, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I like Kevin James and understand his limitations as an actor. He jumps into a calmer version of himself here and does a pretty good job. If I had to guess, it would be this character is similar to what he played on TV, although I've never watched his show.
Scott Voss is a subpar teacher who has an obvious problem with authority. His big mouth and fondness for Bella, the beautiful Salma Hayek, get him into a pickle: he needs to raise $48,000 to rescue the music department. After working an extra job and realizing he's not going to get the cash in time, Voss learns that an MMA fighter who LOSES a fight gets $10,000. He wrestled when he was younger and, along with one of his students from citizenship class (who also happens to be a former MMA fighter), Voss decides to go out and lose enough fights to raise the money.
The plot sounds easy enough to put James on auto-pilot and let him go. But director Frank Coraci did a good job of keeping James reeled in enough to get a pretty good performance out of him. James regressed to simple silliness a couple of times. Luckily it wasn't enough to stand out or bring the movie down. Coraci has done good and bad, but he's the director of Waterboy (1998), a comedy classic. James also had the benefit of a great supoorting cast. An actor who's often used by the director, Winkler, played the music teacher, Marty Streb. His comedic timing is impeccable. Him and James worked well together, as did James and Hayek. She toned the acting down a little, enough to look like she was having fun making Here Comes the Boom, and created a likable school nurse.
The show stealer was Bas Rutten, a real life ex-fighter and some-time actor. Rutten was over the top in every scene and did his part in making Boom such a success.
The story wasn't original, or some plot twisty flick. Here Comes the Boom kept it simple. The character development was strong. I liked these guys and was happy to sit and watch the story unfold. The touching parts and happy parts were just that because of my liking of the characters.
The weirdest thing was the fight scenes. They were GOOD. The cinematography was kept simple and the fights looked real enough. A couple shots were incredible. With what passes for action scenes lately, I'd say other cinematographers could learn a thing or two (one being that jiggly cam SUCKS) by watching these simple, focused on the fight, sequences.
Judging by what other reviewers said about Here Comes The Boom, I'd say they expected it to be a standard Kevin James slapstick movie with more comedy than character development. It is pretty funny, but not something that'll give you cramps from laughing. It's definitely worth going to see though.