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Fist Fight

Richie Keen’s comedy about feuding teachers gets a failing grade

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The education system is something of a metaphorical punching bag these days, and there is the potential to mine some sharp comedy out of its oft-beleaguered state. Say, a couple of teachers in a failing, underfunded public school grow so fearful of losing their jobs that each would resort to any crazy scheme to not be the one laid off. Why, it could end in a giant fist fight in the parking lot, the time-honored solution of misbehaving high schoolers.

Well, this isn’t that movie. Sure, that’s the basic plot of Richie Keen’s comedy, but it suffers from being pretty witless, with half-hearted performances, few jokes and a mind-deadening barrage of profanity. (Speaking of school, somebody should teach a class in Hollywood called “The F-Word Is Not a Punchline.”) Charlie Day and Ice Cube play the feuding teachers; Dean Norris is the grumpy principal; Tracy Morgan portrays the school’s disconnected sports coach; Jillian Bell is the inappropriately sex-and-drugs-obsessed guidance counselor; and Christina Hendricks just floats through in a skin-tight dress. It’s all a waste, and at best, I hope these actors learned to pick better films in the future, lest they lose their jobs.

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