Walking out of the theater after seeing Fist Fight there were three little words floating in my head: Snitches get stiches. The trailer for this comedy immediately got my attention mainly based on the cast. Ice Cube and Charlie Day together are about as opposite as you can get which is comedic perfection. Both the fear of Day’s character and the fury of Ice Cube’s character were both believable and enjoyable to watch as the story played out. Fist Fight is the feature film directorial debut of Richie Keen. He was known for his work on television shows including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia which Charlie Day stars in.
As far as comedies go, this movie was not as consistently funny as the trailer made it out to be. The plot was extremely simple and fit perfectly in the 90 minute runtime. The story takes place on the last day of school at a high school as the teachers are preparing for the impending doom of budget cuts and possible firings by the administration. When Day’s character witnesses Ice Cube’s character taking out his frustration with the senior pranks going too far by destroying a desk with an axe, Day tattles on Cube and accidentally gets him fired. Naturally, Cube is angry with Day for costing him his job and challenges him to a fight after school.
The first half of the movie was the weakest part, which isn’t very encouraging for the audience. The second half was much better and really brought out the comedic talents of the supporting cast members. The great Tracy Morgan played the school’s gym teacher who tried his best to prepare Day’s character for his fight along with help from Jillian Bell’s oversexed and possibly meth-addicted guidance counselor character. For all you Breaking Bad fans out there like myself, the one and only Dean Norris (Hank Schrader) plays the school principal. Even with all these actors sprinkled throughout the movie, the comedy that we all wanted from this movie really just wasn’t as strong as it could’ve been.
I know what some of you might be thinking right now, how about the actual “fist fight” that we keep hearing about? Well, I was truthfully expecting there to be some boring friendship peace agreement between Cube and Day causing the fight to be canceled. To my surprise, there was most certainly a fist fight and it was spectacular and fun to watch! Ice Cube was delightfully imposing while Day is the human incarnation of a field mouse, which builds to a strong comedic standoff. Watching Day prepare for the fight with Morgan and Bell was the strongest portion of the film however, between Morgan’s bad advice and Bell’s weird tangents about students she wants to sleep with and all the drugs she’s on were impossible not to laugh at. There is one scene involving Day and his daughter that made the whole movie worthwhile for me and I refuse to spoil it for you!
Director Keen made a solid comedy with Fist Fight. It was by no means a perfect movie, but the moments it had were well worth the price of admission. Cube and Day were wonderful for their respective roles, however their cast members felt slightly wasted. Keep going down this path Mr. Keen and I’ll look forward to you future projects!