If you’ve ever listened to our Screen Rant Underground Podcast, you already know that our editor Rob Keyes has a soft spot in his heart for the comedic stylings of Kevin James. The affable star of films like Paul Blart: Mall Cop and The Zookeeper will bring his awkward teddy bear charisma to yet another ill-fitting arena – quite literally an arena this time, as James enters the world of Mixed Marital Arts in Here Comes the Boom.
As you can see from the trailer above, fans of James will likely be enthused for his new film, while non-fans aren’t likely to be swayed by anything we see here.
The story revolves around Scott Voss (James), a once-great high school teacher now resting on his laurels. When the school budget gets slashed to a tragic degree (no more arts and sports), Voss’ passion for the job is rekindled as he tries to find a way to raise the necessary funds to save the day. For whatever reason, the would-be hero decides that fighting on the MMA circuit would be the most efficient way to raise the dough – though his own doughy body and non-existent fight skills are hurdles he’ll have to get over, first. But with a little coaching, a little training, and a whole lot of heart, Scott may be able to bring the boom (or at least, be on the receiving end of it enough times) to both raise the cash, and inspire his students.
Like I said: by now everyone should have a pretty good “Kevin James-o-meter,” whereby you know if the comedian’s antics are your cup of tea or not. MMA fans are likely going to have their heads spin at the thought that the guy from King of Queens could ever – even for a second – be passed off as a fight contender. Of course, that juxtaposition is just where the comedy lies – but judging by the latter half of the trailer, director Frank Coraci (Wedding Singer, Waterboy, Zookeeper) and screenwriters Rock Reuben (ZooKeeper) and Allan Loeb (The Dillema, Rock of Ages) are going for something more heartfelt; there seems to be an actual inspirational tale buried in the core of this film.
How well the genuine sentiment goes over with audiences remains to be seen. Because let’s face it: Rocky Balboa, Kevin James is not. At the very least, it should be funny to see the actor getting coldcocked a few times; meanwhile, Salma Hayek will be on hand to beautify the proceedings enough so that the time is not a total loss.
Here Comes the Boom will be in theaters on October 12, 2012.