Starring: Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan
Director: Richie Keen
Running Time: 91 mins
Fist Fight is an American film about a nervous teacher who is challenged to a fist fight by another teacher who he got fired. Within seconds, the news of their duel spreads far and wide, leaving no chance to back out at the last moment.
This is not an intelligent film. Nor is it a particularly impressive film. But one thing that it is is entertaining. Sure, Fist Fight has as many brain cells as an American Pie movie, and its incredibly crass humour is completely excessive, but it’s also a very light-hearted, fun-loving and silly comedy. With two crazily over-the-top central performance complemented by a ridiculous script, I had a smile on my face watching all the idiocy unfold from start to finish.
However, before I get into why I (rather unexpectedly) enjoyed this film, I will say that this is definitely not a movie for everyone. In fact, I expect most people will think pretty low of Fist Fight, and that’s entirely fair. Maybe this is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, but even I can’t deny that this film is lacking in comedic ingenuity.
Most evident in some of the side characters throughout, including Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks and Dean Norris, this film really doesn’t know when it’s best to shut up. As funny as I found many of the jokes, there are far too many times when a scene goes on far too long, bringing in boring side characters with supposedly witty interjections that are cringeworthy to watch.
That problem is most prevalent in the first and second acts, and although the final act is a significant improvement, the fact remains that a lot of jokes fall flat here, and can make for irritating viewing.
That said, the reason that I found Fist Fight such a surprisingly enjoyable movie is simply because I had my brain turned completely off. It never sounds like a particularly fair reason to praise a film, and with its very juvenile, crass humour couple with a bit of an awkward message, I should be more critical of this film.
However, this is such a comedically preposterous movie that it’s so easy to turn your brain off, allowing you to sit back and relax as the film throws jokes at you time and time again. Many of them don’t hit home, but the ones that do are really funny.
What’s more is that the lead performances from Charlie Day and Ice Cube go a long way to making this as entertaining a film as possible. Although they’re both a little shrill at times, they both play completely comical version of their typecast characters – Charlie Day a confused and weak man, and Ice Cube the insanely aggressive and angry guy from the Jump Street movies.
And when it’s just those two on screen, this film really works well. Again, it’s not clever, and the best jokes come from the pair screaming at each other, or simply punching each other as in the film’s off-the-chain final act, but it’s all just silly and stupid enough to not matter.
So, I’m surprised to say it, but I had a lot of fun with Fist Fight. It’s by no means a work of comic genius, and I don’t think it’s everyone’s cup of tea. However, it’s such a crazy, idiotic and light-hearted comedy that it’s very simple to just switch your brain off and smile your way through 90 very quick minutes of madness, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.3 overall.