The same could be said for the comedy. After a lengthy and somewhat stale setup, the laughs pick up with the energy. Still, even when it’s funny, that’s mostly due to James’ exceptional gifts as comic actor rather than anything inherently smart or witty in the script. This is the kind of movie you smile along with and enjoy but won’t find yourself quoting later on.

Even so, its good intentions genuinely make up for a lot. The fact that the whole experience is so agreeable is a testament not just to James’ ability to carry a film. It also proves how refreshing it is to sit through a feature-length film nowadays (and a comedy in particular) that is so unabashedly clean. Ah, to be able to relax with a theater full of kids, free from the burden of random and unnecessary profanities or innuendos. And to see wholesome (even Christian) values intentionally treated with respect, including the story of how Jacob wrestled with God used as an inspirational metaphor to a pre-finale fight prayer.

James, Hayek and Winkler all play their parts well and are good together. Two MMA stars also make worthy contributions, especially Bas Rutten as Voss’s trainer. He displays as much confidence with the material’s feel-good tone as he does with its physical expertise. UFC Trainer Mark DellaGrotte is also a recognizable face in the world of Martial Arts, and he shows an ease within the ensemble as well.

The movie never quite delivers the boom its title promises. It pulls its punches creatively but still delivers its heart and message with grace, good humor, good values, and earnest inspiration. It’s no knockout, but Here Comes the Boom still wins on points.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol Content: Wine is served with a couple of meals.
  • Language/Profanity: Two uses of the A-word.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity: A couple kisses.
  • Violence/Other: A lot of mixed martial arts fighting occurs throughout, but always in the context of the sport itself and never to gratuitous or shocking effect. One instance of projectile vomiting.

Publication date: October 12, 2012