Fist Fight (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

Fist Fight (2017)



Critic Consensus: Fist Fight boasts a surplus of comedic muscle but flails lazily, and far too few of its jokes land with enough force to register.

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Movie Info

A mild-mannered high-school teacher (Charlie Day) is accused of getting a fellow teacher (Ice Cube) fired, and is challenged to a fight after the school day ends in this comedy directed by Richie Keen.

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Ice Cube
as Ron Strickland
Charlie Day
as Andy Campbell
Tracy Morgan
as Coach Crawford
Dean Norris
as Principal Tyler
Dennis Haysbert
as Superintendent Johnson
Charlie Carver
as Nathaniel
Max Carver
as Daniel
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Critic Reviews for Fist Fight

All Critics (131) | Top Critics (31)

Screenwriters Van Robichaux, Evan Susser, and Max Greenfield raise the satirical ante with a nicely jaundiced view of the school, which is underfunded, riven by office politics, and teetering on the brink of anarchy.

March 9, 2017 | Full Review…

It's notable only for the deeply shabby way it treats Mad Men's Christina Hendricks and for its extremely odd penchant for child-abuse jokes.

March 2, 2017 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

This fitful timewaster doubles rowdily down on all its flimsy-to-questionable ideas.

March 2, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Fist Fight is a crude and foul-mouthed comedy whose most notable feature is its utter pessimism about the American high school system.

March 1, 2017 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

By one way of looking at it, Fist Fight might be seen as a timely nightmare -- not about bullying but being downsized. For that reason alone, it's not a complete waste of time. Also it features a rampaging horse on meth.

February 24, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

It doesn't help that neither leading man is much of a comic force in his own right.

February 23, 2017 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Fist Fight


I've never been a violent person, it's just not the way my personality is wired. Yes, I've played violent video games like Grand Theft Auto, but I'm not prone to angry outbursts. You could even make the suggestion that I'm a hippie. Perhaps not like a 60s hippie or anything of the sort, but I've always believed that violence begets violence and it's an never-ending cycle of it and that's just not what I believe we, as a species should be. At the same time, that's not to suggest that I don't believe in self-defense. If you, or someone you love, is placed in danger, you're well-within your rights to defend yourself. That, at least in the U.S, is taken to the extreme, where, for example, George Zimmerman was stalking an innocent kid (Trayvon) through his neighborhood (after he was told to back off by the police), Trayvon, who had every right to be scared, fought back, Zimmerman shot and killed him and, yet, somehow, the kid was guilty and Zimmerman got off scot-free. That's why, later, when Zimmerman got punched out, I didn't feel one bit of sympathy for him. Or when Nazis get punched. There's people where it's ok, where it's your moral obligation to punch them, Nazis are some of those people where it's ok to punch (or kill in video games) without feeling any guilt or remorse. That may seem contradictory, but Nazis are the lowest form of scum and they do not deserve your respect or compassion. Regardless, the point is that, as far as I'm concerned, I've never been in a fight. I've thrown punches a few times, to be sure, but I've never put myself in a situation where I've had to fight because, really, I like to think that I'm smart to those things. I did throw a punch at one of my friends, who's really big and tall, because he pushed me from behind and I almost fell on my face. I think I also threw a punch at him for another reason, though that one I can't really remember. The point I'm trying to make is that, unlike Charlie Day in this movie (at least until later on in the flick) I'm no pushover. It's just that it takes quite a lot to get me to the point where I feel I need to lash out. With that little diatribe out of the way, I suppose I should talk about this movie now, huh? I've always found it a bit problematic for a movie like this, which is meant to be strictly comedic, that the gag reel is funnier than anything in the movie itself. This doesn't apply to movies like Little Miss Sunshine, however, because that movie has got much on its mind than just the comedy. It's a story about the family dynamic and how the dysfunctionality of the family, at the end, drives them closer to rally around Olive after her dance at the beauty pageant goes horribly. This movie, however, doesn't have any of that deep exploration of the dynamics of family. It's about one teacher fighting the other because the former got the latter fired. I mean, going after a student who's playing a relatively innocent senior prank (compared to every other prank going around this school) with a fire axe and destroying his seat with it is grounds for termination. Anyway, the point is that the fact that this movie's blooper reel is funnier than the movie itself should set off some red flags. In a movie with a cast like Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Kumail Nanjiani, Christina Hendricks, DEAN NORRIS (Haaaaaaank), Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, among others, you'd expect the script to be stronger than it was in order to use its cast properly. I know I mentioned Ice Cube and, technically speaking, he isn't a good actor...per se. I just find that, in this type of setting, where he can just be Ice Cube and he's not limited, relatively speaking, in what he can say, he can be very good. His performances in 21 and 22 Jump Street prove this. He's great at playing the surly and hot-headed authority figure. When Ice Cube tries to be family-friendly, that's when there's just where he falters. Anyway, this script doesn't really do much with all its comedic talent and that's just really a shame. Because imagine how good this movie would have been with a strong script and a great cast of comedic actors that can ad-lib if you need them to and make your dialogue even better. But no, this movie doesn't really meet them halfway, they just rely on the actors' talents to carry most of the load. And, to their credit, I feel that they did a decent enough job all things considered. Because, even with the weak script, I didn't hate this movie at all. I just felt that the actors had more freedom to do what they wanted given the R-rating. Compare this to Keeping Up With The Joneses, a movie with a really strong cast as well, and how its adherence to the PG-13 rating, keeping everything sanitized and tame, severely hampered its cast's ability to ad-lib. If this movie had been PG-13, it probably would have been considerably worse. Part of the problem, to me, is the fact that the movie is really quite one-note. Campbell gets Strickland fired, after what I just mentioned, for fear of losing his job (they're doing major downsizing in all divisions) as his wife is just about to give birth. Campbell snitches on Strickland and Strickland challenges him to a fight. Simple stuff, fair enough. But the movie, essentially, becomes finding ways for Campbell to get out of the fight and, honestly, it kind of gets old quickly. Campbell calls 911, who laugh at him and post his call on YouTube, when it goes viral. Campbell tries to get the school security guard to stop the fight, but he won't do so since it happens after school hours. He bribes this kid with a Mac Book Pro to tell the principal that the fire axe incident was made up, to get Strickland his job back. He tries to frame Strickland by planting some molly in his bag. He convinces another man, after they're thrown in prison, to fight Strickland for him. All of these, and many more, backfire on Campbell. And, again, it just gets old quickly. Campbell has to deal with other stuff. He has a job review interview at 2:15, plus he has to go dance with his daughter at a talent show at her school. So there's obviously much more going on than just the fight, but it's still all relatively one-note. The movie gets by on the fact that Charlie Day is pretty damn good at what he does, though I feel that they rely on the parts of Day's comedic talents that are bound to annoy people, which is his incredibly high-pitched voice for a full-grown man. There's a funny, but highly inappropriate, running gag with Jillian Bell's character, who wants to fuck one of the students, it's the last day of school, whom she says has been playing mind games with her all year. I'm not one of THOSE guys (you know the kind), but I hate to think of the double standard if Jillian's character had been a man. I feel that, for comedy, sometimes you have to cross the lines of good taste and this definitely does cross that line, but I feel that it works thanks to Jillian Bell, she's a great comedic actress. I don't think just anybody could have pulled this off and Jillian is one of the few who can. But, as far as side characters go, no one else really has anything. Christina Hendricks' character wants Strickland to cut Campbell after shen went into the boy's bathroom and found Campbell scolding a kid who was jerking off in the bathroom stall. Does that count as something? I don't know, but it's not that big of a bit in the movie (it happens very early on) and you sort of forget about it by the time Christina Hendricks' character implores Strickland to cut Campbell. It just seems like she's psycho. But, really, no one else has much of anything to do. It's all centered around the eventual fight. Which, I will say, was actually pretty good all things considered. But, again, one of the big flaws of this movie is the fact that there's too much happening in too little time. That call that Campbell made to 911 and was released to the public, shortly thereafter, someone posts an edit of the call set to computer graphics with Campbell's face plastered over this baby's body or something. Everyone around town, somehow, finds out about this fight and it just seems to be the only thing anyone can talk about. Not only is it unbelievable, there wasn't enough time for news to spread as fast as it has. Then again, the students started a hashtag for the fight, so that may have been it. But, at the same time, in spite of all its flaws, I felt that this was still a decent enough movie. Not good, not great, but decent. The casting is more than solid and there's definitely a few funny moments here and there. It's just that the scripting wasn't up to the talents of the cast, in my opinion. I had no problem with this, but it should have been better. Not the best, not the worst. Why not Deadpool 2? There's a Futurama meme for you, even though Zoidberg never actually said 'Why Not Zoidberg?' at any time during the show, so there you go. Sorry to pop that bubble.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer


Charlie Day and Ice Cube are ready to rumble in the outrageous screwball comedy Fist Fight. In fear of his job Any Campbell rats out a fellow teacher who gets fired, leading him to challenge Campbell to a fight at the end of the day. Day is hilarious and elevates the material, and Jillian Bell is surprisingly good as well. However, the writing is pretty bad, as it's ridiculous how out of control the school is. And there's far too much vulgarity and crudeness. Yet, ultimately it's all about the fight; which proves to be an exciting knock-down, drag-out, bare-knuckle brawl. It's got a lot of problems, but Fist Fight is entertaining and delivers some good laughs.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

Charlie Day plays a well meaning, concerned, caring teacher (but he's white and a bit of a chicken). Ice Cube plays a well meaning, concerned, caring teacher (but he's black and angry). Face off equals comedy? Is this still a thing? I'm happy all actors make some money here but is following social stigmas the way to go instead of presenting a better example?Maybe it is. Whatever, this effort is not bad. Not bad at all.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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