PG (sports violence, rude humor, mild language); 105 min.
Kid-friendly funnyman Kevin James is at his cuddliest in Here Comes the Boom. And he has to be. This amusing but sometimes unsettling comedy marries the teacher-turns-to-mixed martial arts mayhem of Warrior to that wholesome family dramedy Mr. Holland's Opus.
It works, after a fashion. But that doesn't mean you won't wince.
James plays Scott Voss, a Boston high school biology teacher who is a decade past his "Teacher of the Year" days. But he's touched by seeing that rare colleague who is still inspired and inspiring. And when put-upon Mr. Streb (Henry Winkler) and his music program are the first things on the chopping block when Principal Betcher (Greg Germann) has to slash the budget, Scott is moved to act.
Bake sales won't be enough, as the fetching school nurse (Salma Hayek) discovers. And part-time work teaching citizenship classes to immigrants won't raise much cash, either. But that collision with a collection of semi-stereotypes is where Scott meets the gregarious Niko, played with an amateurish verve by martial artist Bas Rutten.
Scott convinces this Dutch (the accent comes and goes) brawler to train him so that he can get into the ring -- the octagon -- and take a beating and get paid for it. Which is what he does, running afoul of school policy and impressing the nurse, whom he flirts with constantly.
And as Here Comes the Boom winds toward the ending we all see coming, the violence of it all can be a bit much.
The movie doesn't flinch from that, and apparently the movie ratings board dozed off during the fights. It's not a PG sport, and the graphic violence means this isn't a PG movie.
-- Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service