Movie trailer: 'Fist Fight'
A teacher brutally slaps a student and then threatens to decapitate him before desecrating the body with a vile bodily function. A horse pumped full of meth runs blindly at breakneck speeds. A teacher fantasizes about using a switchblade to split open the face of a man she thinks is a pervert.
Welcome to what is supposed to be the humor of “Fist Fight.”
What the script for this loser of a comedy turns out to be is just a lazy approach by novice writers Van Robichaux and Evan Susser. This tale of two teachers scheduled for a fight in a school parking lot after school banks heavily on schoolyard humor to make up for any original writing. Filling the production with profanity, jokes about masturbation and an endless barrage of male genitalia images and comments is the uninspired way of trying to generate laughs.
The thin story revolves around Andy Campbell (Charlie Day), an English teacher at Roosevelt High School. He’s just trying to get through the final day of the school year that is filled with senior pranks. Those pranks range from placing a computer showing porn inside the school’s trophy case and mowing a phallic design into the football field.
Campbell’s day gets worse when he observes the school’s history teacher, Ron Strickland (Ice Cube), go crazy in his classroom destroying property and chopping up a student’s desk with a fire ax. You must be thinking by now, “wow, that’s some funny writing.”
Both teachers are called into the principal’s office. When Campbell squeals on Strickland, the history teacher demands they meet after school to “settle this like men.” That makes sense for Ice Cube’s character as for some unknown reason he is a bitterly angry man. There’s a hint that he’s upset with the school board, but that’s not the kind of thing that triggers his kind of psychotic actions.
The rest of the film is Campbell looking for a way to get out of the fight. The script is so lacking in any thought that an action like Campbell simply leaving the school grounds is ignored. He has proof he was threatened because the students have blasted the fight plans on social media.
“Fist Fight” drags itself through the dung of stupidity with a student blackmailing a teacher, Tracy Morgan trying to improvise at least one funny line and Christina Hendricks playing a lunatic teacher. The only saving grace for Hendricks is that her part is so small this role will soon be forgotten.
Day has shown through “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” that he can handle inappropriate subject matter and make it funny. Plus, Day had the advantage of Richie Keen as his director. Keen, who makes his film directing debut, has been the director for 11 episodes of “Philadelphia.”
The difference is the writing for the movie and the unimaginative directing show no signs of intelligent life. In the case of “Fist Fight,” you could put one monkey in a room with a laptop, and the monkey would accidentally create a script with more smart laughs than created by Robichaux and Susser. As if that wasn’t enough, Keen took the humorless script and made it worse with his lackluster vision.
This are the kind of films that people argue shouldn’t be taken so seriously. There’s nothing wrong with crass humor as long as there is at least one glimmer of thought put into the work. This movie is such a complete dud that even the bloopers over the closing credits are as funny as a puppy’s funeral.
Cast: Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks.
Director: Richie Keen
Rating: R (violence, language, brief nudity)
Opens: Friday, Feb. 17