Published: Sat, February 18, 2017
Culture | By Kelly Harrison

Fist Fight is furious fun


The fight in the the third act of the movie is action packed, amusing and satisfying.

Opening at the box office this weekend 'Fist Fight', a new comedy starring Ice Cube and Charlie Day who play teachers headed for a brawl in the parking lot after school. The movie is often laugh-out-loud amusing, I have to admit, but I'm willing to bet that teenagers in audience will enjoy it a lot more than teachers and administrators. "If you're being bullied, tell a teacher", she says.

Back when I was in high school I always wondered if teachers ever got into fights with each other in the break room. Day is the center of attention in Fist Fight.

Ideally cast if nothing else, Fist Fight pits the perpetually freaked-out Charlie Day against the perpetually scowling Ice Cube in the most lopsided matchup since Bugs Bunny outwrestled The Crusher.

After much cajoling he landed the Fist Fight gig, with just one proviso.

"Nah. I think we should do the public school teachers vs. the private school ones", Day laughed, adding, "Hey, if they want another one, we'll figure a plot out pretty quick". You'd see a movie and be laughing your ass off and then there'd be a real, sweet, great moment. Fist Fight purports to be transgressive in its humor, but it plays things safe when it comes to anything resembling social critique. When you do it, use your name and try not to wear a beard or anything, so you become a household name on your own merits and name.

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Day: Yes, because when they run up to and they go, "Hey Urkle!", that'd get old. Fist Fight makes you wonder the last time a studio made a good comedy.

In the end, Fist Fight bit off more than it could chew.

This is not a nice movie, and while its devil-may-care nastiness is occasionally bracing, it's just as often frustrating. To say more would spoil the funniest scene in the movie. He was also excited to share the screen again with Ice Cube, whom he'd worked with in the 2008 film First Sunday. In the end, if it's about anything other than why insane people should not all be stuck in a school together, it's how there are significant pros and cons to both a violent approach and a strictly passive approach to challenges. "I thought it was cool and this is going to sound odd but every time I was on or near a set I was like, 'This is where I should be.' It just lit me up in a way that other things didn't". Christina Hendricks, as an intense drama teacher who apparently has a crush on Strickland (which was never explained or explored), seems like she was thrown into the movie for little reason.

Day: So the challenges for us really were just trying to put together this movie in the ideal way that we wanted to put it together. "Fist Fight" is not one of them. The humdrum run-up to the main event feels every bit like director Richie Keen (Day's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") and the writers picturing how amusing an intra-faculty beatdown would be, then fumbling their way backward from there.

They also deliver on the goods. And he got the best out of everybody I think myself included.

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