After inadvertently getting a fellow teacher fired, a meek English
teacher is challenged to a fist fight after school by the fired teacher.
Fist Fight (2017)
Directed by Richie Keen
Written by Van Robichaux and Evan Susser
Starring Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell,
Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani,
JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Dennis Haysbert, Alexa Nisenson
I didn't think I'd enjoy Fist Fight nearly as much as I did. Despite getting critically panned across the board, the film is actually worth a few laughs mostly because of the chemistry of its two leads. Charlie Day and Ice Cube keep this movie from being a complete wash. It's as funny as it is surprisingly socially relevant, with its take on the public school system in America being less than flattering and even less subtle.
Charlie Day is Mr. Campbell, a weak English teacher who witnesses hardass history teacher Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube) attack a student with an axe and smash his desk to pieces. After ratting out Strickland to the principal (Breaking Bad's Dean Norris in a hilarious supporting role), Campbell is then challenged to a fist fight after school by Strickland and spends the rest of the day trying to get out of it. It's a trope that's been done in teen comedies for decades, but never between two teachers. The scheming and the inevitable character development make for an interesting and funny watch throughout, though there are a few weak points. For starters, Christina Hendricks's character seems to exist purely for an extended cameo, and Jillian Bell was just plain annoying for the most part.
Fist Fight is an uproarious comedy that deserves way more attention. It may not be the definitive high school movie, but it tries really hard to be its own thing while at the same time not taking itself too seriously. The end result is a movie that made me laugh. Isn't that what you want from a comedy when you come down to it? If it made you laugh, what more needs to be said?