Tag Archives: charlie day

‘Fist Fight’ as Much Fun as a Punch to the Head

Fist_FightMy friend made a good point while we were watching this: who says “fist fight?” That’s not a thing that is organically said by normal humans.


“Fist Fight” stars Ice Cube and Charlie Day as teachers at a high school who plan on fighting each other after one of them gets fired on the last day of school. Christina Hendricks, Jillian Bell and Tracy Morgan also star as Richie Keen directs.


Comedies released outside of the summer season have a track record of being not very good. Whether it’s January (the “Ride Along” films, also starring Mr. Cube), April (last year’s “Keanu,” one of the least funny films I have seen in quite a while) or Christmas (“Daddy’s Home” and “Why Him?”), studios clearly like to keep their prime comedies for when kids are out of school and snow is off the roads. So it shouldn’t be a big surprise that “Fist Fight,” despite all the talent involved, is a lazy mess that has less laughs than an episode of “It’s Always Sunny” but lasts three times as long.


Charlie Day is typecast at this point as shrieking and hyperactive but to his credit he is a little toned-down here. He still has his panic attacks but they’re far, few and in between, and he manages to get a few chuckles when they do spring up. As I’ve written in both my “Ride Along” reviews I find something oddly hilarious about Ice Cube growling, so the first time he showed up on screen here I couldn’t help but laugh. However he isn’t given too much to do after the opening scene, and he and Day have almost no chemistry together.


One could argue that they’re advisories so naturally they wouldn’t have chemistry, but if you look at any (successful) James Bond or Avengers film even the hero and the villain have some sort of back-and-forth and screen presence; here the two are mainly just reciting lines (or doing very awkward improv) to each other.


And while we’re on the subject of these characters, they obviously imply that Day is supposed to be our main character and protagonist–they even give him a pregnant wife and young daughter so we know he’s relatable!–but he is so slimy and unlikable that you find yourself rooting for Ice Cube’s cookie-cutter strict teacher to beat him in the fight (oh, and his character’s name is Mr. Strickland, in case you wanted your head to be sore from being beaten over the head with analogies).


There are a few fleeting bright spots sprinkled throughout “Fist Fight” but most of the time you actually feel guilty about laughing at them. Day’s pre-teen daughter (Alexa Nisenson) is by-and-far the best part of the film for reasons I won’t spoil, but not only is she a kid actor who isn’t awful she actually left me wanting to see more from this young actress. The titular fight sequence is also entertaining in a ludicrous, random sort of way, but by that point in the film you’ve almost forgotten about the showdown altogether and just want to go home.


“Fist Fight” is the sort of film mistakes a penis joke or f-bomb in every other sentence as comedy, and thinks that letting actors improv nearly all their lines will inevitably lead to something funny. However that ruins the flow of the film and creates an unfunny experience that is about as entertaining as getting kicked between the legs.


Critics Rating: 3/10

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Horrible Accurate Description of ‘Bosses 2’

Horrible_Bosses_2            The moment they announced “Horrible Bosses 2” was a thing I scratched my head. I loved the first film, it remains one of my favorite comedies of all-time, but it just didn’t have substance to warrant a sequel. Then director Seth Gordon said he wouldn’t be returning and he was replaced with Sean Anders. All these were red flags but I held up hope that the returning cast would make this sequel work.

They couldn’t.

“Horrible Bosses 2” follows Nick, Kurt and Dale (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day) after they have quit their jobs and started their own business with their invention, The Shower Buddy. When they are scammed by an investor and his son (Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine), they decide their only course of action is to kidnap the son and hold him for ransom (because, duh).

I don’t really know where to start with this film, because it really is disappointing. Comedy sequels are rarely as good as the original (“22 Jump Street” excluded), but I expected “Horrible Bosses 2” to at least have the same tone as the first film. The writers of the original film, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, wrote a draft for this film but when Anders took over as director he and his writing partner John Morris reworked the script (the duo helped on the scripts of the scattershot but very funny “We’re the Millers” and “Hot Tub Time Machine”). Some of the first film’s bite and self-awareness still remain, but most of the jokes now are nothing more than poop and sex gags, which are Anders’ trademark.

The movie is paced in a way that just doesn’t work. It takes a full hour before the trio even discusses the kidnapping scheme, or at least it felt like that. This clearly was not an idea that could carry an entire film, so it was stretched by having an entire subplot involving Jennifer Aniston’s sex-crazed dentist. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Jennifer Aniston, but when she starts to fantasize about 14-year-old boys at wrestling camp, you lost me.

Bateman, Day and Sudeikis (whom I love and believe is very underrated) all still have fun chemistry and give and take among each other, and Electro himself Jamie Foxx is back as Dean MF Jones, but they can’t save this sinking ship.

Christoph Waltz is criminally underused as the film’s antagonist (pun intended?), but there’s still something about seeing Hans Landa play a ruthless business man that put a smirk on my face. Pine seems to be having a blast as the spoiled son, who partners up with the trio in the hostage plan to get back at his dad. Kevin Spacey also returns for a few minutes as Dave Harken, but in the end that only made me miss the first film even more.

In retrospect, expectations for “Horrible Bosses 2” shouldn’t have been high, as they put “horrible” right in the title, alongside the number two, which is all this film is: poop.

There is a saving grace towards the end of the film with a few twists and an interestingly executed hostage plan, but that saving grace comes in the form of a bullet to the head, saving my soul from this unjustified, heart-crushing sequel.

Critics Rating: 4/10