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Movie Review: ‘Fist Fight’ Throws More Punches than Laughs

Does Fist Fight land many punches in the humor department? Read our movie review to find out:

Charlie Day’s character begins his class by stating that words are important, but Fist Fight will aim to prove him wrong. Every character stammers in typical comedic fashion where the loudest, grossest, rudest and most offensive language wins. By the end of the movie, he’ll be cussing up a storm and picking fights with everyone. And, yes, he will break down and admit words are not important, but that sad part is he won’t be wrong. How important can the S-word be as an expletive if he has to say it ten times in one sentence for a laugh?

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Charlie Day faces Ice Cube in ‘Fist Fight.’

Nearly the entire comedy derives from watching Charlie Day screech into a nervous breakdown as every student and teacher kicks him to the curb. No, not just kicking him to the curb, but down a dark well, smashing into each jagged stone on his way down. Then lighting the well on fire. Then either urinate or defecate on the fire, depending on whichever action is funnier. Remember, all of this is in service of comedy. I had to remind myself of this as the movie became increasingly hateful, vile and violent in its search for humor and, even worse, a moral center to rationalize all its chaos.

Day plays Andy, a teacher struggling not to be as big of a jerk as the teachers and students that would love to watch him be tortured for their own amusement. With a pregnant wife, a child that wants him to sing with her in the talent show and budget cuts threatening to slash his department, Andy tries to keep his head low and not be as much of a hothead as teacher Ron (Ice Cube).

After growing increasingly frustrated with the cheap school equipment and students that have no respect for the classroom, Ron comes to the quick conclusion of threatening a student with an ax. When Andy and Ron are called upon by the principal (Dean Norris) to explain a chopped up desk and a traumatized student, Andy rats out Ron for fear of losing his job. Further pushing the juvenile nature, Ron decides to exact his revenge by fighting Andy after school. Thus begins the vile search for comedy before Charlie Day and Ice Cube violently beat each other up in a parking lot.

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Pointing fingers gets Day in trouble.

The entire fight seems to have been instigated by Cube’s character as making some statement about the decay of the school system that must be rectified. Forget the school; there’s a deeper problem with this society at large. Churches know about the fight, stores know about the fight and even the TV news films the fight from a helicopter, all of which are looking forward to the match. What point can be made from such a fight to acquire more funding for the school? Will more money cure the student body of their bloodlust for watching two teachers beating each other to a bloody pulp? Will more money prevent the apathetic tone of the teachers who encourage violence, take drugs and sleep with students? The answer the movie provides is a big yes, that all of life’s problems can be solved by convincing people you need money and punching them in the face until you get it.

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