High School Teachers Throw Punches And Crude Jokes In 'Fist Fight'

Tracy Morgan is back in theaters with new film Fist Fight and made a stop by Conan last night to talk about it. As it stands, "Fist Fight" is a pleasantly foul-mouthed exercise that gets by on the chemistry of its two stars: Cube, with his NWA-trained death glare, and Day, who basically recycles his likably hapless yet inventive character from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" into a more responsible suburban dad.

Charlie definitely gets pushed to his limits, as does everyone we have seen on the show, and it makes for quite a hilarious clip.

If you like penis gags, F-bombs and meth and masturbation jokes, then Fist Fight - a raunchy comedy about two high school teachers prepping for an after-school brawl - is going to be right up your alley.

Charlie Day plays Mr. Campbell, a high school English teacher clad in a sports jacket and tie who prefers to lecture about poetry.

Campbell's day gets progressively worse when he crosses paths with the tightly wound history teacher Ron Strickland (Ice Cube) who's no nonsense style of teaching is in direct contrast to Campbell's softer approach.

"I didn't know if my comedic instinct was there".

Fist Fight also tries to shove in a moral lesson towards the end about the importance of taking care of your high schools and teachers, but it can't help but feel forced. Desperate to save his, if only because, as he keeps noting, he has a family with a baby on the way, Campbell snitches on Strickland for attacking a technologically puckish student with a fire axe.

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The first half or more of Fist Fight establishes the wacky world of American public education, in which students are out of control and teachers are equally deranged. The chemistry between Ice Cube and Charlie Day matches well with Day playing the neurotic protagonist and Ice Cube the straight man through out the movie.

Much of the film consists of Campbell's ineffectual efforts to forestall the inevitable, in a grown-up evocation of the 1987 comedy "Three O'Clock High" (a far better film about a wuss trying to avoid a beatdown by a schoolyard bully). "I was an 18-year-old kid", Day said. Who has a talent show on the last day of school?

Almost all of the humor in the buildup to the fight is broad and ugly - and then it gets much, much worse.

The sour comedy Fist Fight won't disabuse them of any of their illusions. And then, and then the challenge was getting people like Tracy Morgan and Jillian-Jillian's character wasn't even written as a woman and we wanted a amusing woman in the movie. They get a beatdown on the playground while the whole school watches ... and they will most likely require stitches at some point. Tracy Morgan is in fine form just being himself as a kooky football coach.

At the same time, though, much of the movie was not a surprise at all. The cowardly, desperate Campbell is no more sympathetic than the glowering, short-tempered Strickland, and even Campbell's pregnant wife and young daughter are obnoxious. And so he was really, really good at that balancing act.

Fist Fight comes out this Friday.

  • Michelle Webb