Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fist Fight [2017]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (O) (3 Stars)  AVClub (C)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (K. Jensen) review
Los Angeles Times (G. Goldstein) review (G. Kenny) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review

Fist Fight [2017] (directed by Richie Keen, screenplay and story by Van Robichaux, Evan Susser along with Max Greenfield) is an often FUNNY if often needlessly / stupidly raunchy escapist comedy for 30-something parents who (it's now _their_ generation's turn to think so) believe that there's something deeply wrong with today's youth / society.

It's the last day of the school year.  Yet white, 30-something, "every man" high school English teacher Andy Campbell (played by Charlie Day) is not celebrating.  It's "contract signing day" at the school for the coming year (once the students are let out) and Principal Tyler (played by Dean Norris) has let it be known that there are going to be deep cuts in the teaching staff.

Andy's very pregnant wife Maggie (played by JoAnna Garcia Swisher) reminded him as he left for school that day that they simply can't afford him losing his job.  Their other child, cute as a button if picked-on third grader Ally (played by Alexa Nisenson) is also looking for her dad to show her (lead by example) how to stand-up for oneself / not be bullied by others.

When he arrives at school, it's obvious that "morale is low."  The approaches being taken by the other teachers to the impending "coming-of-the-axe" range from really disturbing levels of denial exhibited by (1) "okay, so you're telling me to cut down on my _homemade_ meth use next year" _guidance counselor_ Holly (played to studied, clueless perfection by Jillian Bell) and (2) "willing to praise just about _any effort at all_ on the part of his students" by _Coach_ Crawford (played with honestly hilarious, you feel for the guy, desperation by Tracy Morgan) to wildly differing styles of combativeness ranging from (3) the self-centered "if I'm going down, I'm going to take down as many of you (fellow teachers) as I can" approach taken by the school's "Femme Nikita" (!) / _bombshell_ French teacher Ms. Monet (played again to "yes, you'd be _insane_ to trust her" Machiavellian perfection by Christina Hendricks) to the (4) more altruistic if wide-eyed "if I'm going to go down then LET IT BE A STATEMENT" approach taken by _embattled_ history teacher Mr. Strickland (played again wonderfully in eyes glazed / "okay HE CARES ... perhaps TOO MUCH" fashion by Ice Cube).  For Strickland, this last day begins with him just trying to get the stupid school-issued VCR (who uses them anymore?) to work so that he could remind his students through Ken Burn's excellent 1985 documentary [wikip] [IMDb] [Amzn] that "The Civil War _wasn't_ about Batman vs Superman" ;-)

The students?  Well, ... they're world-class a-holes: Since it's the last day of school, the Seniors spend THE WHOLE DAY performing one absolutely awful / sadistic (if often very funny...) prank after another on the teachers / administration.  

So in the midst of this absolutely awful "day to remember" Andy (who just doesn't want to lose his job) and Mr. Strickland (who if he is going to lose his job just wants to "go down making a statement") have ... an altercation.   And the rest of the story ensues ... ;-)

Yes, both the language and the humor is often stupidly crude, but a lot of middle aged parents would probably enjoy the film.  Just honestly, don't take your kids (or even teens) to it ...

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