Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Longest Yard

Rating: C+

This is a remake of a movie that was released back in 1974. I have never liked remakes. I just want someone to come up with an original idea for a change. It seems that Hollywood would rather look back and have bad history repeat itself than look forward and be innovative.

Having said that, this movie is ok, not horrible but not great. Or even very good. We are introduced to Paul Crewe, played by a bored Adam Sadler, an ex-Pittsburgh Steeler player who has been banned by the NFL for allegations of point shaving and betting(Pete Rose anyone?). He was never convicted but the game has apparently left him behind. He has now become a alcoholic boy-toy for Courtney Cox in her first post-Friends role. She is very rich and popular, but we never find out exactly why. Paul decides he doesn't need her and steals her beloved Bentley for a joy ride. After a hilarious cameo from ESPN's Dan Patrick, Crewe wrecks numerous police cars and ends up violating his parole and it's off to jail. He is sent to a Texas prison where abuse of the prisoners is apparently required. He is brought there by the football fanatic warden(James Cromwell) to assist the prison guard football team, which has fallen on hard times. Eventually the idea comes up of a guard vs. prisoner game comes up, and we're off and rolling with numerous musical montages, potty humor, and super slo-mo action sequences. Burt Reynolds appears as an old convict/coach. Cameos abound from all sorts of folks. From ex-wrestlers looking for a paycheck(Bill Goldberg, Stone Cold, Kevin Nash; easily stealing the show from the others when his steroids are switched with estrogen) to ex-football players looking for a paycheck(Brian Bozworth, Michael Irvin, Bill Romanowski). Nelly also throws his gold grill into the rapper-turned-actor ring.

The moral of the story comes out during the big game when Crewe is told to throw the game. In his moment of redemption, will he throw the game like he has done in the past, or will he actually play to win no matter of the consequences? We're expected to cheer for the cons because as we all know, comedy movie prisoners are really not that bad after all, so let's get behind them. Chris Rock is there doing what he has done in every movie, stand-up, commercial, or whatever he's been in. He notes that blacks and whites are different and then proceeds to beat that into the ground. Give us a break.

One funny moment at least for me, was the appearance of David Patrick Kelly as the prison snitch. For those of you old enough, he was Sully in the 1985 classic, Commando. "Remember when I promised to kill you last?' 'Yeah Matrix, you did!' 'I lied!". ahhhh.

We're expected to cheer for the convicts and it's not hard to do, but in the end, a few laughs and some bone crunching sounding football will have you heading for the nearest Blockbuster to rent the 1974 classic. Will it make money? Yeah sure. Will it knock off Star Wars? Don't think so.


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