After watching the trailer for “Fist Fight,” I instantly brushed off the film as just another raunchy comedy focusing on teachers at a high school with a bad reputation. While I was mostly correct, I was also pleasantly surprised.
“Fist Fight” follows high school English teacher Andy Campbell, played by Charlie Day, as he tries to navigate budget cuts, terrible administration and senior pranks on the last day of school. Things get worse when Campbell manages to get on the bad side of fellow teacher Ron Strickland, played by Ice Cube, who is feared by both students and staff. To teach him a lesson, Strickland challenges Campbell to an old-fashioned fist fight after school.
As soon as the film begins, the audience is met with words, images and actions that lend to the film’s R rating. This bothered me initially because I don’t like when comedies rely on saying curse word after curse word to get a laugh – it seems like lazy writing.
However, once you push past the off humor, you get the real humor in the way the film ties in a social message about public education and the way in which the public education system sometimes fails its students.
Ice Cube shines in his role as Strickland. Though the audience tends to focus more on Day’s character because the film is centered on him, by the ending you can’t help but appreciate Ice Cube for taking on a role that delivers an important message – actions have consequences.
That isn’t to say that Day didn’t also give his all; in fact, he did. His character delivers what I feel is the second most important message of the film – don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself when necessary. Day delivers this message with excellent acting and shines throughout the film with great comedic timing.
“Fist Fight” was full of well-known and experienced actors with large roles, including Jillian Bell and Tracy Morgan, but the person who I think stole the show was 10-year-old actress Alexa Nisenson, who played Campbell’s daughter Ally.
Though Nisenson doesn’t have much screen time, her biggest moment is the one scene that had me cry-laughing. I know it will be taking the internet by storm very soon.
Overall, I enjoyed “Fist Fight” and appreciate the important messages it delivered. It was funny, and I think anyone who doesn’t mind a bit of blue-collar humor will enjoy it.
“Fist Fight” will be released in theaters on Feb. 17.