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Published on February 16th, 2017 | by gareth

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Fist Fight

Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) is a man who should be on top of the world. He
is an English teacher about to enjoy his last day of school before the
summer break, and his wife is about to give birth to their second child.
Andy’s day starts badly thanks to a senior prank but he is ready to face
the day with his end of year meeting being his only concern.
When word reaches the staff that the administration is slashing positions
at the school, tensions rise especially when many of the staff are told
they will not be retained at the end of the year. This is a huge point of
stress for the mild mannered Andy, as he needs his job with a second child
on the way.
As the day unfolds, the jokes become crueler and crueler, and the staff is
at their breaking point. Enter Ron Strickland (Ice Cube), a teacher so
imposing that the staff and students alike fear him and his no nonsense
ways.
When a prank goes too far, Strickland takes an axe to a desk and naturally
expects Andy to cover for him. Andy is reluctantly willing to do so until
the Principal informs him that either he or Strickland will be fired at
the end of the day. In a panic, Andy places the blame on Strickland who is
in turn fired. Strickland tells Andy that although he has no desire to
return to the school, he is going to fight him at the end of the day to
make sure that rules are followed and to teach him a lesson for snitching
on him.
This sets off a chain of events where Andy tries desperately to get out of
the fight and save his job.

The highly dysfunctional staff he works with are little help, and soon the
pending fight has taken on a life of its own as the entire town and online
community are waiting for the big event.

The film has some real comedic moments and the neurotic measures that Andy
takes are often as outrageous as the premise.
The movie also stresses the message that many teachers are forced to work
without adequate resources and must deal with a bureaucracy and students
who do not care about learning and lack discipline and respect, but this
is used mainly as a device to show the stress levels that the characters
are under.

Ice Cube and Day work well with one another, and Day is continuing his
impressive work outside of his hit TV show It’s Always Sunny In
Philadelphia.

While we saw similar themes in the 80s, film “Three O Clock High”, the
film delivers more laughs than you might expect and does make for a
pleasant diversion.

3.5 stars out of 5

 

 

 

 

Second Review by Joshua Aja

As Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) arrives to teach English on the last day of school he is welcomed with a student parking his scooter in his assigned spot. It’s the first of many student pranks that greet him as he enters the school. The school is in utter chaos with the students paying no attention to any of the teachers. That is until the History Teacher, Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube), marches down the hall. Students recoil as the formidable Strickland reprimands two students for replacing a baseball bat in the school’s trophy display case with a laptop playing pornography. After he is done scolding the students Strickland turns sending students and teachers’ alike scattering for their class rooms. Andy also heads off to start what his is beginning to thing is going to be a very long last day of the school year.

He later finds himself in Strickland’s class trying to help repair a seemingly malfunctioning TV and VSR. While attempting the repairs he realizes that Strickland is the butt of yet another student prank. Not amused Strickland rushes from the room and returns with a fire axe and smashes the desk of the student who was responsible for the prank. Before Andy and Strickland head to the office of Principle Tyler (Dean Norris) to answer for the incident Strickland tells Andy “teachers stick together.” They refuse to answer Principle Tyler’s questions until he threatens both of their jobs. Andy has a wife (Maggie played by JoAnna Garcia Swisher), a daughter (Alley played by Alexa Nisenson) and a baby due any moment.

Therefore Andy feels threatened he quickly cracks and tells on Strickland. This results in a quick firing of Strickland. As they leave the Principal’s office Strickland stops Andy and tells him that at the end of the school day they are going to have a fist fight. Now Andy, the much smaller and less experience fighter, has to find a way to get out of the fight. Not only that but he also has to get through a day of ever escalating student pranks, attend his daughters talent show to perform a father-daughter dance, give an interview with the Principle and Superintendent (Dennis Haysbert) to determine if he will have a job the next school year, and lastly make sure he is there for his wife when she goes into labor. He sets out to do anything he can to get through the day and avoid the beating he will surely take.

Fist Fight is a non-stop outrageous comedy. From the first scene to the last they try and put in as many laughs as possible. Most of the situations, language and visuals are definitely not suitable for children. Like many raunchy comedies each scene tries to out-do the last in terms of outrageousness and how far they can push the envelope. They are successful at times and at other times it’s seems forced. I did find myself laughing out loud and there were some really smart funny moments but I would have liked a more developed story. The saving grace of the underdeveloped story is its originality, and the exceptional cast. Tracey Morgan as the clueless Coach Crawford, Jillian Bell as Holly the guidance counselor, who desperately wants to sleep with a student, and Kumail Nanjiani as the school security guard Mehar are all really funny and well-cast. The two main actors Charlie Day and Ice Cube do a good job as well. But Ice Cube seems to be the same tough character as his last several comedies (Ride Along, 22 Jump Street, etc.). I also did find it somewhat distracting that half of the movie the actors seemed to barely fit in frame or the tops of their heads were cut off. This could have been a technical issue with the theater but it was still something that took me out of the movie and lessened my experience.

Overall as an adult comedy it has more hits than misses and is something I will watch again. Maybe not at movie theater prices but definitely worth a rental or download.

 

3 out of 5


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