Fist Fight inevitably pigeonholes itself into that category of generic box office comedies we somehow always end up seeing. It’s got some of that conventional Adam Sandler physicality, while somehow managing to add in a little more wit to the expected fracas.
The entire movie will have you playing the name game of actors you recognize, but you’re not really sure from where. In spite of this, the dialogue from those supporting roles seems to be the largest component as far as the humor goes. Even Allstate’s deep-voiced icon, Dennis Haysbert, has a quick cameo.
Characters performed by Workaholics’ Jillian Bell and 30 Rock’s Tracey Morgan hold up that subplot to make the movie more clever than it appears to be. Meanwhile, main characters Andy and Strickland, played by Charlie Day and Ice Cube, respectively, group themselves into their inescapable roles, as they do in all of their other work. Sure, it’s still the spastic and fast-talking Charlie Day playing a replica of his It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia character. There’s also the same vulgar and “hood” Ice Cube that plays an identical role to all of his previous films. For some reason, you still can’t help but laugh.
I also find that you’re more susceptible to the humor when you’re watching it with friends at a theater, rather than alone on a laptop. Again, that goes the same for all the big production comedies we see nowadays. Fist Fight is just another example that feeds into this sub-genre of gimmicky and cheap slapstick humor. Throw in some dubstep or EDM for the movie trailer, make Zac Efron take his shirt off and have the side characters say all of the truly funny lines to complete the concoction. The perfect ingredients for a widespread and commercially successful comedy in 2017.
Despite being cliché, Fist Fight does separate itself in a few aspects. At least the dialogue isn’t as cookie-cutter as Rob Schneider movies (it does help that it isn’t rated PG-13). The plot also branches off a bit before the fight, adding more to the storyline than what’s expected. As the movie nears its end, it tacks on an unanticipated and somewhat theatrical scene involving Andy and his daughter where I couldn’t stop laughing. There’s also a few running gags throughout the movie that work well.
The entire film leads up to the actual fight, so I was prepared for a quick and tasteless back-and-forth. On the contrary — the fight turns out to be more drawn out and elaborate than imagined. So those seeking basic entertainment lacking complexity should be more than happy to spend however much on popcorn for an amusing Friday night. Those that have more intricate tastes might be able to enjoy the film in the right environment, but not so much by themselves or on a computer. All in all, Fist Fight does deserve some praise, but not as a lasting or memorable comedy.
Fist Fight gets a 5 out of 10.
Contact CU Independent Arts writer Kristin Endahl at email@example.com.