The career of Ice Cube is, honestly, very weird. He went from member of the hardcore rap group N.W.A. to actor in hard hitting dramas like Boyz N the Hood (which I highly recommend if you haven’t seen it). Then, in 1995, he suddenly became more of a comic actor and from that point on, he has pretty much played everything for laughs. Sometimes in family comedies, sometimes in more grown up ones, his roles are almost always the angry tough guy. One thing is for sure, he’s always a blast in these roles.
The career of Charlie Day is about as normal as they come. He started out as a guest star in a few shows in the early 2000’s and transitioned to a lead role in the sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This led to a starring role in a few successful comedies and that’s where he is now. He excels at playing high strung losers, and that’s what he is cast as.
Since it’s inevitable that Ice Cube will always be cast against people who are his polar opposite, I’m surprised it took as long as it did to team these two up. Day stars as Andy Campbell, a nerdy English teacher who is worried that mass layoffs at the school may bring about his termination. Ice Cube plays Strickland, a tough-as-nails history teacher who doesn’t put up with nonsense. Being the last day of school for the year, pranks are happening everywhere. When one gets out hand, Strickland goes berserk and threatens a student with an axe; a situation which Campbell witnesses. When brought in to talk to the principal, fearing for his job, Campbell throws Strickland under the bus. After being terminated, Strickland tells his fellow teacher that they’re going to fight after school.
As is usually the case with comedies, almost all the funniest parts are given away in the trailer. Unfortunately, most everything else isn’t anything special. Things start to pick up when the end of the school day hits, but by that point it was beyond the point of full redemption. That being said, the actual fight itself is really well done. A scene near the end involving Day’s character and his daughter at a talent show is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. Jillian Bell steals the movie as a meth addicted guidance counselor. Every time she’s on screen, things seem to be better.
Unless you are a true fan of the leads, this may be one you want to skip. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a bad movie, it’s not – it’s just underwhelming. There is actually a message hidden in somewhere in the film, but it keeps getting missed by constant drug and dick jokes. Also, when your charismatic leads keep getting overshadowed by the supporting cast you know things aren’t going great.
My Rating: C