Despite the frequent jokes that rarely hit the mark, I did find myself laughing at a few that did. ‘Fist Fight’ is a strange one to review because, while there are some funny moments here, they’re so few and far between it hardly seems worth it. The mariachi band and a few well timed character jokes are the stand out here in a comedy that tries, and ultimately fails, to tell a story about standing up for yourself despite the odds.
The story follows Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) as a timid, squeaky voiced English teacher trying to survive the last day of school whilst pranks occur around him. Alongside him is no nonsense fellow teacher Strickland (Ice Cube) who challenges him to a fight after inadvertently getting him fired. What follows is a series of outrageously unrealistic scenarios designed for laughs rather than telling a cohesive story as Andy tries to prepare for the fight after school. Whilst story isn’t the most important factor in a comedy, films like Superbad, The Hangover and even American Pie manage this whilst still delivering some good laughs.
The supporting cast range from predictably bland to shockingly bad. Holly (Jillian Bell) being a prime example of this as she plays a meth-taking guidance counsellor trying to get in a relationship with a student. Whilst this might seem funny to some, imagine the outrage if the genders were reversed here and you can see why this might be a step too far. The rest of the cast do their jobs and deliver their lines but barely stand out from their generic tropes.
The comedy itself, as I said before, mainly fails to deliver. There are long periods of this film that were almost uncomfortable to watch based on how desperate the jokes felt. Having said all that though, I did laugh out loud at a few of the jokes and the outrageously stupid premise is not meant to be taken seriously, even if it is all over the place and nonsensical.
There is an attempt to try and deliver a message of standing up for yourself regardless of the consequences but I can’t quite tell whether this is a positive or negative message here. He encourages his daughter to sing a song full of f bombs which ultimately leads to her becoming popular but expelled. He tells the board of directors at his school how he feels about working in the school but gets fired. There are numerous examples of these kind of things throughout but you get the picture. I feel maybe they could have delivered this message in a more positive light but fair play to them for trying, its actually one of the reasons I haven’t rated this lower.
Overall, Fist Fight is a hilariously bad film for all the wrong reasons. It rarely hits the right comedic notes and its overall theme of standing up for yourself is lost in the crude, shockingly bland characters and questionable story that does nothing to elevate the film. Having said all of that, there are a few funny moments in here and if you like your comedy stupidly slapstick void of any sort of story of plot, it might be worth watching but for everyone else, don’t spend the money to see this at the cinema.