Here's a happy surprise in "Here Comes the Boom": a movie that doesn't hit you over the head with its message, even as its star is getting hit over the head.
Kevin James stars as Scott Voss, a formerly caring teacher who's now just punching the clock until he learns that his school's music teacher, Marty Streb (Henry Winkler), is likely to lose his job due to budget cuts. Voss vows to earn the money to save Marty's music program and stumbles into mixed martial-arts fighting after an encounter with a muscle-bound Dutch MMA trainer (played by former MMA champ Bas Rutten).
Director Frank Coraci, a veteran of Adam Sandler's stable, keeps the laughs pleasantly low-key, as James (who co-wrote) nails the gritty world of MMA fighting. James is also a generous leading man, letting Winkler get the best jokes and showing some charm as Voss rekindles his educational fire and flirts with the school nurse (Salma Hayek). The movie's no knockout, but it's sturdier and more fun than you'd expect.
'Here Comes the Boom'
Opens Friday, Oct. 12, at theaters everywhere; rated PG for bouts of MMA sports violence, some rude humor and language; 105 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.