Skip to main content

Midvale Journal

Dan's Review: "Fist Fight" is a long, dirty joke

Feb 18, 2017 01:46AM ● By Dan Metcalf

Ice Cube and Charlie Day in Fist Fight © 2017 – Warner Bros.

Fist Fight (Warner Bros.)

Rated R for language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug material.

Starring Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert, Tracy Morgan, Dean Norris, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Jillian Bell, Alexa Nisenson, Kym Whitley, Kumail Nanjiani, Conphidance.

Written by Van Robichaux, Evan Susser and Max Greenfield.

Directed by Richie Keen.



I used to think life in my own high school was “edgy” while our teachers and administrators had no clue as what kinds of naughty deeds the student body was up to. If we are to believe the premise of Fist Fight, my high school was more like a Sunday school. Dirty jokes, nasty pranks inappropriate teacher/student relationships, drugs, bullying and violence are the basic core humor that fuels the movie, starring Charlie Day and Ice Cube as feuding high school teachers.

Day plays Mr. Campbell, a mild-mannered English teacher trying to get through the last day of school, so he can appear with his daughter (Alexa Nisenson) in her grade school daddy-daughter talent show. He’s also nervous that he’s about to laid off in s series of cutbacks perpetuated by the mean-spirited Principal Tyler (Dean Norris), which would put him in the dog house with his 9-month pregnant wife (JoAnna Garcia Swisher). While visiting the class of his fellow teacher Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube), Cambell witnesses his associate in a moment of rage that threatens the safety of his students. When word of the incident gets back to Principal Tyler, Campbell snitches on Strickland to save his job, and Strickland is summarily fired on the spot. This betrayal enrages Strickland even more, who challenges Campbell to a fistfight after school. Campbell does all he can to avoid the fight, including consulting with other teachers (Jillian Bell, Tracy Morgan) and bribing a student to help recant his version of events in Strickland’s class in an attempt to get his co-worker’s job back (and avoid the fight). None of this works, leading to an all out punch-fest in the school parking lot.

Fist Fight isn’t highbrow humor by any stretch of the imagination. It represents the basest form of comedy, mostly drawing upon penis jokes, foul language and the afore-mentioned inappropriate student/teacher relationships. There’s also plenty of high-pitched, hysterical whining from Charlie Day, which has begun to grow a little stale, absent of any dialogue that doesn’t include numerous F-bombs and a few genitalia slang references. The same goes for Ice Cube, whose only cinematic contribution seems to be thuggish sneering and anger management issues. Never seen that before (cough).

There are a few gags that work, but in the end, Fist Fight is nothing more than a long, dirty joke that doesn’t have a clever punch line.

Fist Fight Trailer