I doubt you’ll see a funnier film in a theater this year.
Every year, about a dozen new comedy films get made, and every year, about eleven new comedy films prove to be anything but. However, I think I’ve found the exception for the year in Richie Keen’s Fist Fight. The premise of the film is simple enough. Two teachers get put into a prisoners dilemma, where they choose one to be fired or are both fired. One teacher, played by Charlie Day, blames the other teacher, played by Ice Cube, and after losing his job, Ice Cube vows to fight the teacher play by Charlie. Where this film shines is not in the creative concept, but rather in it’s hilarious, almost sketch comedy like approach to humor.
The film’s comedic genius is not a surprise considering Keen’s history in comedy television. He’s had his hand in a fair amount of the funniest television shows of the last decade, such as It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. However, he had great material to go off with writers Evan Susser and Van Robichaux. Those names may not sound familiar because it’s their first feature length film. The duo have a fair amount of experience with shorts and more sketch-like comedy. Their unconventional background provided some fresh jokes that utilizes the casts’ dead pan style of joke delivery to the best of it’s ability.
Speaking of the cast, this film sports a cast of a veritable who’s who of top comedians in television today, as well as all around crowd favorites such as Christina Hendricks and Dean Norris. Needless to say, Ice Cube and Charlie Day were phenomenal to watch throughout this film. Ice Cube does what so few other actors can do. In the vein of an almost homage to early silent films, he plays each scene with a complete sense of seriousness but with words that are out of place that can’t help but make you laugh. Some of his scenes can be transplanted into a serious drama and fit perfectly. It really is a stroke of genius. Charlie Day on the other hand play’s a rather neurotic character that can best be describe as a less anxious, more frustrated and scared Woody Allen. He’s no slouch either. He can be the relatable clown we all love to laugh at and can also the exact opposite in a very believable way. The rest of the cast is a phenomenal arrangement of highly skilled and very funny actors and actresses who make people laugh on a regular basis. Jillian Bell, for example, delivers her jokes using the same dead pan and misdirection technique as she does on television and other appearances but to amazing effect in this film.
This film does a lot of things right for a lot of reasons. It’s got the proper writing team to create the best jokes for these characters who fit the style of humor perfectly and it’s all wrapped in a project headed by a man with a lot of comedic experience. However, this is by no means a complete film. It’s very basic in it’s essence and hits all the check boxes of what a film needs to be finished, but it’s lacking any real story telling components. The only character that gets fleshed out to any degree is Charlie Day’s character, and that’s because he’s the protagonist. Ice Cube is the other lead and his motivations are somewhat ambiguous, his background is a mystery, and his story is generally unknown. The same can be said of almost any other character who has screen time in the film. In addition to that, the story follows a very simple concept and never offers any real twists. At times it tries to break out of it’s simple story and make a statement about the world, but it’s more or less just interjection at an opportunistic moment. However, you can overlook that and any of the other minor flaws given the passionate performances all around.
With that said, this movie is great for what it is, a simple comedy with some great jokes. If you want to see a movie that will genuinely make you laugh and have some fun in a theater, then this is the movie for you.
The film is now playing.