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Fist Fight boasts a surplus of comedic muscle but flails lazily, and far too few of its jokes land with enough force to register.
Fist Fight boasts a surplus of comedic muscle but flails lazily, and far too few of its jokes land with enough force to register.
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All Critics (126)
| Top Critics (28)
| Fresh (32)
| Rotten (94)
Screenwriters Van Robichaux, Evan Susser, and Max Greenfield raise the satirical ante with a nicely jaundiced view of the school, which is underfunded, riven by office politics, and teetering on the brink of anarchy.
By one way of looking at it, Fist Fight might be seen as a timely nightmare -- not about bullying but being downsized. For that reason alone, it's not a complete waste of time. Also it features a rampaging horse on meth.
More galling and tedious than funny, this quasi-re-imagining of the 1987 high school film, Three O'Clock High, proves that it's entirely possible for a remake of a bad movie to be worse than its inspiration.
Day's the runt, Cube is the bully, and for a punishing 91 minutes of rank idiocy we wait in vain for something funny to happen.
Fist Fight isn't there to make you think, but to make you laugh, and it mostly does.
A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the early 21st century.
Despite the efforts of the cast and its simple yet ripe premise and some surprisingly coherent storytelling, Fist Fight just isn't worth the wait due to its very patchy script.
Despite all of the head-slapping - figuratively and literally - from the script, Fist Fight is a light movie with only one lesson plan in mind: to entertain.
Delivers solid performances between Cube and Day while being an inoffensive, and thoroughly funny comedy with a handful of hit or miss jokes.
"Fist Fight" is a complete disappointment on all levels.
I would have been seething if I hadn't been too busy rolling my eyes so hard at all of the characters' atrocious behavior.
Fist Fight won't hurt the careers of anyone involved, but you'll rightly expect it to swing much harder, and ultimately it ends up settling for being just barely passable.
I've never been a violent person, it's just not the way my personality is wired. Yes, I've played violent video games like Grand Theft Auto, but I'm not prone to angry outbursts. You could even make the suggestion that I'm a hippie. Perhaps not like a 60s hippie or anything of the sort, but I've always believed that violence begets violence and it's an never-ending cycle of it and that's just not what I believe we, as a species should be. At the same time, that's not to suggest that I don't believe in self-defense. If you, or someone you love, is placed in danger, you're well-within your rights to defend yourself. That, at least in the U.S, is taken to the extreme, where, for example, George Zimmerman was stalking an innocent kid (Trayvon) through his neighborhood (after he was told to back off by the police), Trayvon, who had every right to be scared, fought back, Zimmerman shot and killed him and, yet, somehow, the kid was guilty and Zimmerman got off scot-free. That's why, later, when Zimmerman got punched out, I didn't feel one bit of sympathy for him. Or when Nazis get punched. There's people where it's ok, where it's your moral obligation to punch them, Nazis are some of those people where it's ok to punch (or kill in video games) without feeling any guilt or remorse. That may seem contradictory, but Nazis are the lowest form of scum and they do not deserve your respect or compassion. Regardless, the point is that, as far as I'm concerned, I've never been in a fight. I've thrown punches a few times, to be sure, but I've never put myself in a situation where I've had to fight because, really, I like to think that I'm smart to those things. I did throw a punch at one of my friends, who's really big and tall, because he pushed me from behind and I almost fell on my face. I think I also threw a punch at him for another reason, though that one I can't really remember. The point I'm trying to make is that, unlike Charlie Day in this movie (at least until later on in the flick) I'm no pushover. It's just that it takes quite a lot to get me to the point where I feel I need to lash out. With that little diatribe out of the way, I suppose I should talk about this movie now, huh? I've always found it a bit problematic for a movie like this, which is meant to be strictly comedic, that the gag reel is funnier than anything in the movie itself. This doesn't apply to movies like Little Miss Sunshine, however, because that movie has got much on its mind than just the comedy. It's a story about the family dynamic and how the dysfunctionality of the family, at the end, drives them closer to rally around Olive after her dance at the beauty pageant goes horribly. This movie, however, doesn't have any of that deep exploration of the dynamics of family. It's about one teacher fighting the other because the former got the latter fired. I mean, going after a student who's playing a relatively innocent senior prank (compared to every other prank going around this school) with a fire axe and destroying his seat with it is grounds for termination. Anyway, the point is that the fact that this movie's blooper reel is funnier than the movie itself should set off some red flags. In a movie with a cast like Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Kumail Nanjiani, Christina Hendricks, DEAN NORRIS (Haaaaaaank), Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, among others, you'd expect the script to be stronger than it was in order to use its cast properly. I know I mentioned Ice Cube and, technically speaking, he isn't a good actor...per se. I just find that, in this type of setting, where he can just be Ice Cube and he's not limited, relatively speaking, in what he can say, he can be very good. His performances in 21 and 22 Jump Street prove this. He's great at playing the surly and hot-headed authority figure. When Ice Cube tries to be family-friendly, that's when there's just where he falters. Anyway, this script doesn't really do much with all its comedic talent and that's just really a shame. Because imagine how good this movie would have been with a strong script and a great cast of comedic actors that can ad-lib if you need them to and make your dialogue even better. But no, this movie doesn't really meet them halfway, they just rely on the actors' talents to carry most of the load. And, to their credit, I feel that they did a decent enough job all things considered. Because, even with the weak script, I didn't hate this movie at all. I just felt that the actors had more freedom to do what they wanted given the R-rating. Compare this to Keeping Up With The Joneses, a movie with a really strong cast as well, and how its adherence to the PG-13 rating, keeping everything sanitized and tame, severely hampered its cast's ability to ad-lib. If this movie had been PG-13, it probably would have been considerably worse. Part of the problem, to me, is the fact that the movie is really quite one-note. Campbell gets Strickland fired, after what I just mentioned, for fear of losing his job (they're doing major downsizing in all divisions) as his wife is just about to give birth. Campbell snitches on Strickland and Strickland challenges him to a fight. Simple stuff, fair enough. But the movie, essentially, becomes finding ways for Campbell to get out of the fight and, honestly, it kind of gets old quickly. Campbell calls 911, who laugh at him and post his call on YouTube, when it goes viral. Campbell tries to get the school security guard to stop the fight, but he won't do so since it happens after school hours. He bribes this kid with a Mac Book Pro to tell the principal that the fire axe incident was made up, to get Strickland his job back. He tries to frame Strickland by planting some molly in his bag. He convinces another man, after they're thrown in prison, to fight Strickland for him. All of these, and many more, backfire on Campbell. And, again, it just gets old quickly. Campbell has to deal with other stuff. He has a job review interview at 2:15, plus he has to go dance with his daughter at a talent show at her school. So there's obviously much more going on than just the fight, but it's still all relatively one-note. The movie gets by on the fact that Charlie Day is pretty damn good at what he does, though I feel that they rely on the parts of Day's comedic talents that are bound to annoy people, which is his incredibly high-pitched voice for a full-grown man. There's a funny, but highly inappropriate, running gag with Jillian Bell's character, who wants to fuck one of the students, it's the last day of school, whom she says has been playing mind games with her all year. I'm not one of THOSE guys (you know the kind), but I hate to think of the double standard if Jillian's character had been a man. I feel that, for comedy, sometimes you have to cross the lines of good taste and this definitely does cross that line, but I feel that it works thanks to Jillian Bell, she's a great comedic actress. I don't think just anybody could have pulled this off and Jillian is one of the few who can. But, as far as side characters go, no one else really has anything. Christina Hendricks' character wants Strickland to cut Campbell after shen went into the boy's bathroom and found Campbell scolding a kid who was jerking off in the bathroom stall. Does that count as something? I don't know, but it's not that big of a bit in the movie (it happens very early on) and you sort of forget about it by the time Christina Hendricks' character implores Strickland to cut Campbell. It just seems like she's psycho. But, really, no one else has much of anything to do. It's all centered around the eventual fight. Which, I will say, was actually pretty good all things considered. But, again, one of the big flaws of this movie is the fact that there's too much happening in too little time. That call that Campbell made to 911 and was released to the public, shortly thereafter, someone posts an edit of the call set to computer graphics with Campbell's face plastered over this baby's body or something. Everyone around town, somehow, finds out about this fight and it just seems to be the only thing anyone can talk about. Not only is it unbelievable, there wasn't enough time for news to spread as fast as it has. Then again, the students started a hashtag for the fight, so that may have been it. But, at the same time, in spite of all its flaws, I felt that this was still a decent enough movie. Not good, not great, but decent. The casting is more than solid and there's definitely a few funny moments here and there. It's just that the scripting wasn't up to the talents of the cast, in my opinion. I had no problem with this, but it should have been better. Not the best, not the worst. Why not Deadpool 2? There's a Futurama meme for you, even though Zoidberg never actually said 'Why Not Zoidberg?' at any time during the show, so there you go. Sorry to pop that bubble.
Charlie Day and Ice Cube are ready to rumble in the outrageous screwball comedy Fist Fight. In fear of his job Any Campbell rats out a fellow teacher who gets fired, leading him to challenge Campbell to a fight at the end of the day. Day is hilarious and elevates the material, and Jillian Bell is surprisingly good as well. However, the writing is pretty bad, as it's ridiculous how out of control the school is. And there's far too much vulgarity and crudeness. Yet, ultimately it's all about the fight; which proves to be an exciting knock-down, drag-out, bare-knuckle brawl. It's got a lot of problems, but Fist Fight is entertaining and delivers some good laughs.
Charlie Day plays a well meaning, concerned, caring teacher (but he's white and a bit of a chicken). Ice Cube plays a well meaning, concerned, caring teacher (but he's black and angry). Face off equals comedy? Is this still a thing? I'm happy all actors make some money here but is following social stigmas the way to go instead of presenting a better example?Maybe it is. Whatever, this effort is not bad. Not bad at all.
Let me clarify here. In no way was I going into this film expecting something great, or even hilarious for that matter. The trailers had a few chuckles, but I truly expected this film to be a bunch of misfires, along with a cliched premise that would be predictable from beginning to end. Sadly, the latter is more than 100% true, but I can't deny that Fist Fight made me laugh quite a bit. I found myself predicting the entire film from start to finish, but not all of the jokes throughout it. I was chuckling consistently and that is the main job for a comedy. For that, I have nothing to do but commend it for that. Fist Fight may be as by the numbers as you can possibly get as far as story goes, but the bottom line is that it's funny. It's not something you have to rush out and see, but here is why I think it deserves your time in the end.
Never did I think I would see Charlie Day and Ice Cube headlining a film together, but that is precisely what made it as good as it is. Following two teachers (Andy and Ron) as they try to maintain a corrupted school environment, Ron is fired after lashing out in his classroom, but only due to the fact that Andy was a rat and tattled on Ron, thus sparking a feud between them, strongly favoured by Ron. Ron challenges Andy to a fight after school and hilarity ensues from there. Sounds outlandish right? That's because it is and there is no way around that. From Andy having a wife who is about to give birth and a daughter that needs him at her talent show, Fist Fight tries very hard to make you laugh, tug at your heart-strings, and make you feel sympathy for everyone involved, in just 90 minutes. Why does this all work? The cast is very enjoyable as their respective characters.
The main plot is already ridiculous enough, but when you really deconstruct this film as a whole, the sub-plots are even more outlandish than the film itself. When another teacher, played unintentionally comical by Christina Hendricks, wants Ron to literally murder Andy, I found myself scratching my head at why it was going so far off course. Maybe it was due to the fact that they needed another plot to push the 90 minute run time, but that whole portion could have been removed and wouldn't have made a difference in the end. Also, there are some funny moments with the principal (played by Dean Norris), but they were too few and far between that I completely forgot he was in the film most of the time.
From the very beginning, you may want to roll your eyes at how convenient everything seems throughout the film. How everyone gets away with things when the police are around, how certain things will probably have happy endings, or how certain relationships between students and teachers will come to fruition, but they are all done in such a way that works. Most of the dialogue can be memorized before it's even said, because you have already heard it a million times, but the comedic timing this cast has still made almost every gag work for me. I found myself laughing consistently throughout most scenes and I found myself forgiving the grievances.
In the end, this film is really all about the humour and the big fight in the finale. I was laughing throughout most of the movie and the fight was actually pretty entertaining, so naturally I left somewhat satisfied. Yes, the dialogue was very lame at times and the story could not have been any simpler, but sometimes you just need nonsensical entertainment that doesn't make you want to tear your hair out. I had fun watching this film, even with all of its flaws present. Will I remember it as one of the best comedies that could out this year? Probably not, but I will definitely remember that it made me laugh and for that reason alone, I will recommend this film to anyone who is looking for a harmless good time at the movies. Fist Fight was much funnier than I was expecting.
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