It’s always great when a comedy tries to innovate itself. Sometimes you get an action comedy (The Rundown, Rush Hour, or Bad Boys) where, it definitely has heart, but it expands the potential of what a comedy has by displaying thrills and more excitement. Then, in some other cases, you’ll get the comedy drama (Instant Family, Love, Simon, or 500 Days of Summer) where there’s a heavy handedness to it, but it still has moments of comic relief and levity. Whether it’s an action comedy or a dramedy, a good comedy can be something really special, as long as it’s is executed well. Now, Chick Fight isn’t necessarily categorized as an action flick (while featuring a good number of fight sequences), however, it is a superb and highly entertaining narrative that delivers on excellent comedic timing, excellent stunt work in the action, and solid performances from the cast.
The story of Chick Fight features some common ground with David Fincher’s Fight Club. You have the main character who’s kind of losing everything and can’t seem to get their life together the way they want to. However, when our main character is introduced to this all-female (in this case for Chick Fight) underground fight club, their life gets turned around for the good. They start to learn more about themselves and what their true potential is. The similarities with Fight Club are clearly there, but the only big difference is their tone. Fight Club is categorized more as a thriller, and a drama infused one, whereas Chick Fight is being sold more on the comedy.
The comedy in Chick Fight serves as the crucial backbone of this movie. If a comedy has moments that don’t make you laugh or chuckle even remotely then it failed to impress you. Chick Fight is full of wonderfully paced and timed comedy, that never felt rushed, forced or completely out of the ordinary. It definitely has moments that might go against what a typical comedy movie might traditionally feature, with the excessive amount of fighting and the impressive stunt work that’s displayed, however there’s great laughter to be found throughout the entire runtime of this movie, and the goal of every comedy is to make you laugh which Chick Fight does in spades. Comedies are known for their chuckles and giggles, and the one aspect that Chick Fight embraces, which makes it go against some of the more familiar tropes in comedies, is the action, one of the most crucial and entertaining parts of the movie.
The one aspect of Chick Fight that kind of separates itself from other action comedies is really how the action is handled. The action in Chick Fight doesn’t feature car chase sequences, explosions, or anything along those lines. The type of action we get in Chick Fight is all hand-to-hand combat scenes. Now, this is something that the movie could have easily brushed aside and not have utilized with great effect. As stated earlier, Chick Fight is, by definition, a comedy, however the hand-to-hand fight sequences are spectacular. There’s no telling how much of the stunt that the actually actors did themselves, nevertheless, the stunt work is beautifully displayed. Not only does director Paul Leyden have a great sense of comedic timing, he approaches the stunt work with respect and class. He gives each fight sequence wide takes, thus allowing us to fully digest every moving punch and each drop of blood from the contenders, and even if moments required a body double, he still shows audiences moments of someone actually putting their lives stake for the sake of pure entertainment, and that’s admirable. Paul Leyden doesn’t have a lot of work to be credited for that’s going to blow the doors open for people, but he clearly has respect for creating solid laughs and intense and brutal fight sequences.
What Chick Fight also exceeds at accomplishing is getting solid performances from the entire assemble. Our main lead in Chick Fight is Anna, who’s played by the beautiful Malin Åkerman. Right from the beginning with the inciting incident (without getting into spoiler territory), there’s a great level of sympathy to the certain struggles and things Anna’s trying to overcome, because as soon as she steps in the fight club, the development and the temperament of her character elevate in ways that make the investment of the character’s internal struggles and desires worth it. She has great on-screen chemistry with Dulcé Sloan, who serves as Anna’s best friend. Dulcé Sloan absolutely crushes it every time she pops up on screen. Dulcé Sloan’s character is the complete opposite of the clichéd annoying supporting or side character typically found in comedies. She’s hilarious and she just serves to be a wonderful addition to the movie. But the one actor who might be the best and most surprising element of Chick Fight is the supremely underrated comedian, Alec Baldwin. When Alec Baldwin delivers, it’s something really special. Sure, we love his impression of Donald Trump, but he’s also shown great performances in content movies like The Hunt for Red October, The Departed, or Glengarry Glen Ross. He’s also shown great comedy chops in 30 Rock and Beetlejuice. His performance in Chick Fight might be one his best, if not his absolute best. He’s having the time of his life and you can sense that through how expressive and entertaining his performance is.
Chick Fight has great things that make the comedy genre evolve, but it’s still a comedy at the end of the day. It’s great to see movies take chances and focus on something while still staying true to the core of the kind of movie you want to make, whether it’s a comedy, horror, or action. Chick Fight sticks to what it is and it flourishes. It’s full of style, wonderful performances, and fight sequences that have grit and rawness to them. If you’re looking for a good laugh, Chick Fight is definitely a way to go.
In theaters, on VOD, and digital November 13th, 2020.
Final grade: 4.5 out of 5.