"Fist Fight"

If you were wondering whether or not Charlie Day can carry the lead in a movie — or if Ice Cube can play anything but an angry and intimidating character — their new movie "Fist Fight" indicates that they can't.

This insipid, repetitive and stilted "comedy" takes us back to the last day of a rough high school where Prank Day is out of control. Inadvertently, Mr. Campbell (Day), gets himself into a scheduled after-school fist fight with Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube). The antics and high jinks that fill the ticking clock's minutes are excruciatingly mind-numbing.

We all love Day in both versions of "Horrible Bosses," and he's a sensation in the television series "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." But bringing Day and his unvaried persona of the timid and unassuming, yet witty, sidekick doesn't translate well into a main character.

The story is the main culprit, however; it just isn't funny. The over-the-top situations are so far-fetched that nothing can save them. The scenes feel as if they are like mismatched patchwork, stitched together with temporary adhesive, only to fall apart with the slightest tug. And to make matters worse, the actors give the impression that this is their first run-through of the lines. The noticeable and awkward pauses during verbal exchanges create unnatural and strained interactions.

Christina Hendricks gives her usual performance of accentuating her curves. Jillian Bell, the meth-using guidance counselor, can't pull this character out of an abyss of confusion and boredom. Her typical quick wit is lost with her cardboard lines that seem to be haphazardly tossed into a variety of situations. The cast, given their reputation, should have been able to pull off something much more entertaining. But the story itself, written by several different writers, reflects a lack of focus and humor. It appears it was doomed from the beginning.

Director Richie Keen, a native of Highland Park, Ill., and Northwestern University graduate, has found great success with "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," but unfortunately, finding a way to bring this lackluster screenplay to life was not a miracle he could perform.

"Fist Fight" is a complete disappointment on all levels. It's just not funny. Sexual and drug humor can go only so far. Watching it feels as if you're stuck in "Groundhog Day," except you're not laughing. Thankfully, the outtakes during the credits actually were funny. They should have used those clips in the film instead!

1/2 out of 4 stars.

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