Review / ‘Fist Fight’ (MA) *

SENIORS at Roosevelt High are celebrating end-of-year day by trashing buildings and abusing staff.

In area superintendent Johnson and principal Tyler’s staff review, nobody knows who will or won’t get laid off to meet a shrinking budget.

The wife of English teacher Andy (Charlie Day) is about to give birth. His petulant pre-pubescent daughter with an impure motive – to embarrass a classmate – expects him to join her performing a number before her school’s assembly at 2.30pm. The lyrics are straight from the gutter but Andy doesn’t know that until too late.

Muscle-man history teacher Strickland tolerates no nonsense from students and wields a baseball bat to make his position clear. In my view, he’s a good guy.

Chubby student counsellor Holly (Jillian Bell) is trying to get a good-looking senior student to satisfy her seething sexual hankering.

Bosomy, red-head, French teacher Monet regards Andy as a dweeb, nerd and pussy.

Security officer Merhar plays exactly by school rules – but only on campus and during class hours.

For reasons that some may support and others will abhor, Strickland

challenges Andy to a fight in the schoolyard at 3pm. Nobody expects Andy will survive. The student body is agog to watch.

Every actor in a cast of second-rates is obliged to deploy a gutter vocabulary – no terrible sin, merely a rapidly-developing bore. The comedy is immature. The drama is feeble. The outcome is a gigantic cliché.

The intentions of a second-rate writer and a second-rate director in creating this unedifying picture of a morsel of the US education system are difficult to discern. Were they making a political statement about the system’s parlous condition? Were they merely feeling a burgeoning wave of satire?

If this appeals to you, by all means go watch “Fist Fight”. But don’t say you’ve not been warned.

At Hoyts, Capitol 6 and Limelight

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