Here Comes the Boom
Rated PG, 105 min.
It appears that after several movies where he stars as the fat guy who falls down a lot, Kevin James must've decided that if he's going to do slapsticky shit for a laugh, the story's going to at least have him doing it with dignity. This movie gives him cushions of earnestness to fall on, as a more trimmed-down James plays a middle-aged, high-school teacher who remembers why he got into this racket when he becomes an underground MMA fighter, snatching up win-or-lose fight money in order to save his school's music program. (An uber-nebbishy Henry Winkler, retired Dutch MMA fighter Bas Rutten and Salma Hayek, as the world's most implausibly nasty-hot, high-school nurse, co-star as friends in his corner.) It's quite possibly the most subdued Happy Madison
production ever filmed, as James and company (which include Zookeeper director Frank Coraci) forgo the juvenile gags usually found in Adam Sandler-produced films in favor of middlebrow, cringeworthy clichés that are almost more painful to witness than seeing James do masochistic pratfalls.