All comedy and no laughs makes Chris a dull critic.
Charlie Day is one of the flexible actors I’ve ever met, and my favorite works of his consist of “Horrible Bosses” and his voice talent in “The Lego Movie.” But somehow, coming on the heels of “Horrible Bosses 2” and his pathetic cameo in “Vacation,” his next comedy “Fist Fight” didn’t hold the kind of spark I admire from him. In fact, he’s all quirkiness and no giggles.
And Ice Cube is one of the bravest actors on camera. He survived police brutality, while being a member of N.W.A, continues to play many fabulous characters in such films as “Friday,” and the “21 Jump Street” movies, got into animation with “The Book of Life,” and has raised a son, who played him in “Straight Outta Compton.” Yet, he ends up being the only survivor of this mess. There is potential in Cube and Day, but “Fist Fight” wastes their potential.
Day plays Campbell, a pushover English teacher at a broken down high school, where senior pranks go too far. Only Cube’s vicious teacher Strickland is at his wits end. In fact, he has no wit at all. When one of his students toots his horn, he destroys his desk with an ax, and Campbell gets him canned. Now, Strickland challenges him to an after school fist fight.
I’ve seen better, funnier ways of characters trying to get out of fist fights, but none of Campbell’s attempts are funny. He has to buy two MacBook Pros to bribe a student, try to frame Strickland with meth, which turns out to be aspirin, and convince an inmate to pound him. Neither the police nor the school security guard (Kumail Nanjiani) can help him, and even the advice of his fellow teachers (Tracy Morgan and Jillian Bell) doesn’t work.
I attended an 8:30 screening, filled with big laughs in the audience, and me feeling stumped. Most of the jokes are obvious (at least to me nowadays), the students are unlikable, Christina Hendricks is just as pointless as her’s in “Bad Santa 2,” and the drama ends up being tainted. Cube is the star of the show, while the rest is wasted.