Ice Cube vs. Charlie Day in a fist fight?
A good premise that fizzles.
BQB here with a review of the movie that took his money and time and refuses to give either one back.
Yeah, it stinks. It’s pretty bad, so thank me for watching it so you don’t have to.
Charlie Day and Ice Cube are teachers at a high school. On the last day of the year, the senior pranks are out of control, ranging from paint bomb explosions to a mariachi band getting paid to follow the principal (Dean Norris) wherever he goes.
Charlie inadvertently gets Ice Cube fired. Ice Cube’s response? To challenge Charlie to an after school fight, a move that so many students have used to resolve their differences in the past.
Charlie is presented as a wimpy worm who then goes on a series of adventures throughout the day in an effort to keep the fight from happening. Perhaps that would be humorous except for the reality that Ice Cube is twice the size of Charlie and twice as menacing, ergo anyone in their right mind would avoid a fight with him. Somehow, the writers want us to think, “Ha ha what a wuss Charlie is for avoiding a fight with Ice Cube” but who wouldn’t want to avoid a fight with Ice Cube? Ice Cube has put at least thirty years and some change into developing a “don’t mess with me” persona.
I realize in comedy, the rules often go out the window in the name of humor. However, there is usually at least some kind of premise that the jokes can build on. Here, there isn’t one.
It’s unlikely that a teacher would challenge another teacher to a fight, but we’re shown Ice Cube’s character is a hot head so, ok, we’ll go with it. But even after Charlie fixes the mess he made of Ice Cube’s career and smooths it all over, Ice Cube wants to fight anyway. There’s literally no making sense of any of it. No matter what happens, Ice Cube wants to fight.
At some point, the writers need to create a villain, someone to blame the fight on, so Norris and the Superintendent (the guy from the All State commercials whose name I don’t feel like looking up right now) are briefly shown as firing teachers, making a lot of budget cuts…somehow we’re told the fight is the result of all the stress the bosses cause teachers except, well, if you watch it, that really had nothing to do with it. In reality, Ice Cube’s character did something worthy of being fired and most teachers in Charlie Day’s position would not have hesitated to tell on him.
Tracey Morgan as the school’s incompetent coach who can’t win a game, Christina Hendricks as the hot French teacher who mistakenly believes Charlie is a pervert who deserves to be beaten down by Ice Cube and Jillian Bell as a sex crazed guidance counselor were not able to save the movie.
Bell’s character is particularly disturbing. She lusts after male students, openly declaring her love of “teenage penis” or “tenis.” I get that it’s done to parody so many news stories where a teacher has been caught doing inappropriate things with a student, to say, “hey, look, teachers who do that are bad people” but I don’t know, the jokes just seemed more gross and inappropriate than funny. Maybe it’s because it’s so sad and disturbing when teachers abuse their position of trust like that, that somehow it just doesn’t seem like a laughing matter.
The movie culminates in a Daddy/Daughter talent show competition, as Charlie has been concerned all day that the impending fist fight will cause him to miss performing with his daughter. At the last minute, the daughter changes the song from the theme to the musical “Rent” to a vulgar, profanity laced rap song by Big Sean. Charlie is unaware of the song’s content so goes along with it, only to be horrified when his little girl, who can’t be more than eight years old, starts rapping and spewing out F-bombs to a horrified crowd of little kids, parents and teachers.
I get there was supposed to be a joke somewhere in the shock value, but it just made me want to pick up the phone and call child services. I mean, I guess it’s legal to hire a little girl to say the F-word over and over again on film…but should it be?
That’s the rub when it comes to shock comedy. When done right, it can leave you slapping your knees and rolling in the aisles. When done wrong, it just leaves you questioning the comedy chops of the people behind the film.
STATUS: Not-shelfworthy. I watched it so you don’t have to. Go ahead and skip this one.