February 22, 2017

Fist Fight Review

Ice Cube and Charlie Day

Fist Fight does its hardest to make suspension of disbelief impossible with its ludicrous idea of the last day of school. Amidst the chaos of senior pranks and all-around bad behavior, two teachers—meek Mr. Campbell (Charlie Day from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), and terrifying Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube)—become engaged in a good old-fashioned showdown via fisticuffs after Campbell’s testimony leads to Strickland being fired. 

Cube gives good grimace, but after an opening flexing of disciplinary muscle, Strickland is mired in assholery. The rest of the faculty and staff are familiar funny faces like Tracy Morgan (finally back in features after his car accident), Jillian Bell, Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks and Kumail Nanjiani, with Morgan and Bell earning the highest marks. Were the movie to strike a better balance between its leads, Fist Fight might have survived its ultra-unrealistic peek at high school. Strickland could have been a fascinating hard-knocks teacher whose pedagogical conflict with his gentler colleague could have sparked an actual fight. Instead, this comedy barely passes, based on meeting the minimum requirements for jokes. They get told, but good luck finding (m)any at which to laugh.