On the last day before summer vacation at a rough-and-tumble high school, mild-mannered teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) accidentally causes his fearsome colleague Ron Strickland (Ice Cube) to be fired. When Strickland then challenges him to a fist fight after school, Campbell must find a way to avoid a vicious beating. Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks, Dean Norris, and Dennis Haysbert co-star in this comedy directed by Richie Keen.~Jack Rodgers
I know Ice Cube can kill it when it comes to action and drama, but rarely does he do comedy. (Although, Are We There Yet and Are We Done Yet were hilarious). Watching him be hardcore made this movie even more comical. And being a teacher just about made me kill over laughing at these actors portraying teachers and the type of school in this film because I so want to do some of these things. Most teachers do! Don't think about it. Get it! You'll thank me.
Going in with low to optimistic expectations there was no great weight on the shoulders of Fist Fight. Released in February, Fist Fight is a comedy starring Ice Cube and what you get from Charlie Day in between seasons of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia-which is more or less the same Charlie Day, but likely a little less energetic and manic due to his more lax schedule. There was no reason to believe Fist Fight would be a memorable comedic experience and it isn't, but it isn't the cheap fest it very well could have turned out to be either. Rather, Fist Fight is a comedy that understands its premise is outlandish and unrealistic from the get-go and thus never takes itself seriously as a representation of the public school system (though some aspects could certainly be interpreted as exaggerated issues) and thus ramps up the ridiculous with every scene-testing the limits of how far the individual audience member is willing to go with them. It would be easy to drop off of the ride at any point along the way, but Ice Cube and Day offer a funny and different enough dynamic that the two parallel arcs are interesting enough to watch develop and culminate for the scant ninety minute runtime. Sure, the premise is slim and one can feel the ride straining itself a bit as it nears the inevitable third act, but with a one-two punch of climactic scenes that includes both an elementary school talent show as well as the titular fight (which more than delivers on its promise) there is plenty to be pleased with once the credits begin to roll and the bloopers begin to play. Of course, Fist Fight isn't the pinnacle of comedic filmmaking and it certainly isn't what Thomas Edison had in mind when he imagined what his motion picture camera might one day be able to achieve, but as far as comic relief it is exactly that-it serves the purpose it was intended for squarely. We know what Ice Cube excels at and we know what we're getting when Charlie Day pops up on screen and the best thing to be said for Fist Fight is that it plays up those two personas until it forces them to collide and while that may indicate there is nothing new to be found in either the story or the performances it does mean it features two charismatic and admittedly funny people doing what they do best-what's wrong with that? Not a whole lot in my humble opinion.