Henry Roth is a man afraid of commitment up until he meets the beautiful Lucy. They hit it off and Henry think he's finally found the girl of his dreams, until he discovers she has short-term memory loss and forgets him the very next day.
Paul "Wrecking" Crewe was a revered football superstar back in his day, but that time has since faded. But when a messy drunk driving incident lands him in jail, Paul finds he was specifically requested by Warden Hazen (James Cromwell), a duplicitous prison official well aware of Paul's athletic skills. Paul has been assigned the task of assembling a team of convicts, to square off in a big football game against the sadistic guards. With the help of fellow convict Caretaker, and an old legend named Nate Scarborough to coach, Crewe is ready for what promises to be a very interesting game. It's only the warden and the guards who have no idea who or what they're up against, with Paul the driving force behind the new team. Written by
People who lined up to bash this film had better get used to seeing more like it. Hollywood these days is stuck in a rut where three types of films account for nearly every film they release. Those are: remakes, sequels, and films based on comic book characters. The Longest Yard would of course fit into the first category. It is a slightly updated, but fairly faithful remake of the 1974 film of the same name. This time, we have Adam Sandler who plays the incarcerated quarterback that Burt Reynolds played in the original. Reynolds is on hand to play a minor role which the original film also contained. The plot is still the same. Prisoners vs guards in a game of football. Pretty simple.
Did the film make me laugh? Sure it did. There are more than a few chuckles, but not much in the way of side-splitting material. Sandler is actually not that memorable in this film. Some of the best performances actually come from people you might not expect. I was truly impressed with Nelly and Michael Irvin. Both men had their characters down, and really proved they could actually act. Chris Rock is about as good as you'd expect. Your own personal opinion of him will determine how you rate his performance. James Cromwell plays the corrupt warden about as well as you might expect. He's pretty much got the market cornered on evil white guy roles, since J.T. Walsh's untimely death. The rest of the cast becomes a game of "see if you can spot the NFL player, WWE combatant, or famous sports journalist". And what on earth was Cloris Leachman doing in the Bernadette Peters role from the original? Did she lose some kind of bet with Sandler on the set of Spanglish or something?
Should this film have been made? Well, we film critics can argue that point all day. The truth of the matter is that this film grossed over $150,000,000!!! As far as the studio bosses are concerned, this film was more than worth it. This was actually one of the more profitable comedies released this year, so you can expect more like it in the near future. I'll give it 6 of 10 stars. Don't expect anywhere near the film we got in 1974. But there are plenty of worse films on the shelves at your local video store.
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