February is a dreary time for movies. Bad comedies, like “Fist Fight,” are prime examples of this time of year being a dumping ground for all the films whose existence the studios would rather forget. Usually, Ice Cube nails his comedy roles, even if they’re sub-par or below average (like “Ride Along 2”). This is because he has always had chemistry with his scene partners. It’s noteworthy that alongside Charlie Day in, the chemistry just wasn’t there at all. The film’s focus was more concerned with Day, whose loud, often hysterical voice, grated on the nerves here, and that alone was a mistake.
In a high school full of the worst teenagers known to humankind, Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) is having the worst day ever. It’s the last day of school before summer break, the seniors have overrun the school with pranks that include a horse running around on meth, penis drawings on the whiteboard, penis and breasts outlines cut into the grass on the football field, and completely trashing the principal’s (Dean Norris) car and leaving it in a hallway. Amid the chaos, Andy is stressed because his wife is overdue to give birth and the school has been laying off teachers left and right; he’s afraid he’s the next one on the chopping block. Andy is also constantly called out for being a “pussy” with no backbone to stand up to anyone. Strickland (Ice Cube), on the other hand, is the scariest teacher in the school. With one look, he can silence an entire classroom. After a prank during his history class and the unwillingness of the students to just sit and learn,
Strickland destroys school property in his anger, having had enough. Both he and Andy are called into the principal’s office and Andy rats on Strickland which, in turn, gets him fired. Angry at Andy, Strickland challenges him to a schoolyard fist fight to pay for what he’s done. Andy then spends the rest of the movie trying to get out of the fight by bribing students, getting his hands on drugs in order to frame Strickland, and a bunch of other dirty deeds (including an attempt to get another man to pick a fight with Strickland) that really has you question who the worst character truly is.
“Fist Fight” is absolutely disgusting in the way it presents itself. What is it really trying to say? That the main character, in order to finally stand up for himself, must first succumb to abhorrent and criminal behavior to prove himself? That trying to frame a man for drug possession is somehow alright because he’s just been pushed too far? The entire film is absolutely ludicrous and was a test to my patience. Its comedy is terrible (there was only one good joke) and cringe-worthy. One teacher (Jillian Bell) distastefully claims she was raped in order to get Strickland and Andy in the same room to talk and also constantly goes on about sleeping with one of the students. Charlie Day running around screeching at people and stooping to the lowest of the low isn’t at all entertaining. Ice Cube is left behind to be the angry, one-dimensional character while Day gets a family and a sappy backstory to tell us just why he can’t afford to lose his job. I would have been seething if I hadn’t been too busy rolling my eyes so hard at all of the characters’ atrocious behavior.
"Fist Fight" is a film that will ensure you won’t laugh once and is honestly one of the worst comedies I’ve seen in awhile.