A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Here Comes the Boom is an action comedy about a teacher who decides to compete in MMA matches to save his school's music department. Even though it deals with a violent sport, there's not too much blood, although there are plenty of bruises, injuries, and hand-to-hand (and foot!) combat. Language and romance are tame (sparing use of words like "ass" and "hell" for the former; some flirting, a date, and one kiss for the latter ), and the messages support the importance of arts education and standing up for what you believe in.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Scott Voss (Kevin James) is a lackluster high school science teacher who sits around and reads the newspaper instead of instructing his kids. But when the principal (Greg Germann) announces that the school's inspirational music and band teacher, Marty Streb (Henry Winkler), is going to be laid off, Mr. Voss commits to finding a way to raise the $48,000 to save the music program. With the help of one of his citizenship class students, Dutch personal trainer Neko (Bas Rutten), Mr. Voss -- a former high school wrestler -- decides to try his luck in the "cage" of Mixed Martial Arts competitions.
Is it any good?
This movie is just a fun little confection that's got some Octagon action, high school laughs, and odd-couple appeal. James is a likeable comedian, though not all of his movies can be saved by his innately relatable charisma. Zookeeper, for example, was one of 2011's biggest duds. But HERE COMES THE BOOM is like Mr. Holland's Opus meets Warrior, minus all the sentimentality of the former and the gritty drama of the latter. The training sequences with retired MMA star Rutten are particularly amusing, as is the way Winkler's goody-goody music teacher interacts with James' burned-out science teacher.
As in all of James' movies, the object of his attention is a drop-dead gorgeous character, here a sexy school nurse played by Salma Hayek. But their flirtation-turned-romance is at least acknowledged as somewhat far-fetched (she jokes about how many years he's tried to lure her on a date). And the relationship stuff takes a definite back seat to the high school subplot and the MMA action, which is entertaining without being overly bloody or intense. (After all, it's pretty funny to see James walk out to Neil Diamond's "Holly Holy" instead of the new metal "Boom" song he wanted as his signature anthem.) Glee fans, take note: Petite Charice plays one of music department's star students, and she (obviously) gets to belt out a song during a climactic scene.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about movies about teachers. Why are public school teachers usually portrayed as either terrible or amazing? Is that realistic?
Mr. Voss and Mr. Streb are an unlikely pair. What do they each teach the other? Why do they each consider the other a "hero"?
How does Here Comes the Boom compare to other films about high school teachers?
- In theaters: October 12, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: February 5, 2013
- Cast: Henry Winkler, Kevin James, Salma Hayek
- Director: Frank Coraci
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: bouts of MMA sports violence, some rude humor and language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.