Scott Voss (Kevin James: a big guy with Chris Farley-like physical nimbleness) is the world’s worst slacker-teacher. We find out why: the system beats the idealism out of teachers, forcing them to be automatons “moving cattle through.” But when the music teacher, Mr. Streb, (a warm and wonderful Henry Winkler) is on the verge of losing his job (and the students their orchestra), Scott instinctively finds his inner hero and takes up mixed martial arts (where even losers make a lot of money per fight) to raise funds for the school. Scott’s supplementary job is preparing immigrants for citizenship (funny, of course), and through the class he meets a fighter, Niko (Bas Rutten), who can coach him.
Scott’s love interest, the school nurse (a feisty Salma Hayek), turns down a date with him many, many times, but she’s waiting to see if Scott has any true passion and resolve for teaching (and life) left in him.
The always-slightly-offbeat situations are just delightful. The dialogue is constant, surprising, witty, and yet somehow perfectly normal—almost like a scripted Woody Allen film. The “buttons” (the end of a scene) end on a high and hilarious note each time. There are NO false notes in this film. This is a tight little comedy with totally at-ease dramatic moments that tie each movement of character and story together like smooth jelly-roll filling. There’s almost a feeling of the most brilliant TV about it. Like one of the very best episodes of “Seinfeld.” Originality abounds, and yet it’s also incredibly familiar and homey.
Everything about the making of “Boom” shows great TLC and a deep knowledge of the moviemaking trade. THIS is how movies are made. Can a comedy be a “perfect film”? Oh yeah. There are details and “touches” everywhere—you really need to keep alert or you’ll miss them. And you don’t want to miss them.
There are natural religious touches also: prayer before a fight, quoting the Bible about Jacob wrestling with the angel, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Kevin James—in real life—is a practicing Catholic AND prays outside of abortion clinics! A few pro-life touches in the film: a very unexpected but immediately welcomed pregnancy of a 48-year-old woman, his brother’s big family.
The whole thing feels like it’s coming from a very good place, and the seasoned cast make acting look so easy. It’s obvious they were having a darned good time.
--Did you like the trailer for “Boom”? You would be correct in your affection. And there’s lots more where that came from. You did NOT see it all in the trailer.
--Who would enjoy this film? I can’t imagine anyone NOT enjoying this film. This well-lit film.
--There’s plenty of testosterone in the film, but it doesn’t feel at all like a guys-only film.
--If you’re British, however, do NOT go see this film. BRIMMING with detested American optimism.
--Totally suitable for the kids. Any age, really.
--This film does not hide. It is not snarky. It does not take shortcuts. It is not afraid to be what it is. It takes its time like the comedic masterpiece “Elf.”
--“Mr. Holland’s Opus” is one of the worst films I have EVER seen. And I can break that down for you.
--The homemade applesauce!
--Such a great trio: Scott, Mr. Streb and Niko!
--This is not a lightweight film.
--Great message about not rushing romance.
--Scott has the charmingest pick-up lines.
--GREAT end of Act 2 reversal! (In Hollywoodspeak: “the big gloom.”)
--Scott’s married brother has a bunch of kids. The family interaction is realistically chaotic, and hubby and wife trade barbs just to let off steam. You can tell they really love each other despite.
--Best use of Neil Diamond in a film since “What About Bob.”
--Can you say: NON-SLOPPY FILMMAKING?
--Finally! A Filipina-American actress!
--Kevin James was a WRITER on the film with two guys. Wow. Some superb writing.
--The Fonz is aging so gracefully. But it’s still terrifying to watch The Fonz aging so gracefully.
--A plea to Hollywood’s male actors: PLEASE dye your hair at the first sign of gray. You don’t look mature and suave, you look old and faded. Do like the female actors. You’ll look 10 years younger and I won’t feel so insecurely old myself. Thank you.
--One most unfortunate line mars the film—TOTALLY NOT IN KEEPING WITH THE REST OF THE FILM (TSK, TSK). Scott’s married brother asks Scott if he needs to be “fixed up with some honeys, because I have some money set aside that she [his wife] doesn’t know about.” Really??? Pathetic. There should be nothing “on the side” in any marriage. If there is, you’re a tool. It’s just that simple.