Fist Fight is a raunchy comedy throwback in the style of the 1980s that is very similar to the cult classic Three O’Clock High. Only instead of a nerdy student who gets into trouble with a bully determined to fight him after school, this time around it’s two teachers played by Charlie Day and Ice Cube throwing down at 3pm on the last day of school. The movie almost entirely takes place on the last day of school where Day’s English Teacher Mr. Campbell crosses the hard-nosed history teacher Mr. Strickland perfectly played by Ice Cube. The outmatched English teacher spends the last day of school trying to keep his job, avoid the massive senior pranks that are terrorizing the school and do whatever it takes to avoid getting punched in the face.
The film starts out with much promise with a very comical premise about a pair of educators who decide to duke it out in the parking lot like a bunch of delinquents once the final bell rings. Day fits right into the whiny role of the nervous Mr. Campbell who wants out of the fight at all costs. Day and Cube get to share some funny moments in the events that cause the fight, but after the first act, Fist Fight runs out of a steam by the 2nd act with some unfunny gags that drag onto for way too long. It’s a shame to see this, because Day and Cube played perfect opposites of each other, but instead the script falters and we are left with lame jokes about teachers having sex with students and zero character depth from the two leads.
Fist Fight had the opportunity to be a satirical look at the education system and the lack of respect from the students in the digital age, but instead it just turns into a film where the bad jokes outnumber the truly smart and funny moments. Outside of Charlie Day and Ice Cube, none of the supporting characters including Christina Hendricks as a teacher with a violent side, an angry Dean Norris as principal and worst of all Jillian Bell as the unfunny Guidance Counselor bring nothing that resembles humor to the table. Worst of all these side players are given too much screen time eating up valuable content that could have been spent building a humorous film with a message at the end. Fist Fight does pick up at the end once the punches start flying, but it’s not enough to save this movie with stretches that are devoid of genuine laughs.
Overall, I give Fist Fight 2 out of 4 stars.
Read all T.M.’s reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell