With their themes of perseverance, courage, and teamwork, sports flicks like Remember the Titans, We Are Marshall, and Miracle inspire and encourage millions of moviegoers every year. Conversely, their identical plotlines, stereotyped characters, and obscenely predictable endings inspire some moviegoers to lose their lunch.
I fall into the latter category. That's probably why I'm one of the few film journalists speaking positively about The Comebacks, a riotously hilarious spoof that pokes fun at those annoying inspiring sports dramas. (Editor's Note: Blake, you're on your own on this one. This movie is so bad it made me cry.)
Right now, spoof movies have a bad rap. Back in the Naked Gun and Airplane! days, laughs came from clever physical comedy. Nowadays, diarrhea and flatulence jokes fill the screen. Who laughed when baby Shrek puked on that guy in Meet the Spartans? Did anyone think it was funny when that man coughed up wads of sweaty body hair in Date Movie? Those sights are disgusting, not funny.
The Comebacks has some gross-out humor, but mostly clever, genuinely funny physical comedy. For instance, with the players standing in line, the coach tells them to dodge a flying wrench. Then, he pulls out a handgun and says that the same goes for bullets... and starts shooting. That's a slice above the ridiculous fart jokes that most spoofs utilize.
Of Course, Dodgeball isn't the only film The Comebacks spoofs. Rudy, Varsity Blues, Invincible, Titans, Friday Night Lights, Stick It, Radio, and even Rocky gets its just desserts -- finally -- in a scene where Rocky is a decrepit old man who is punched in the boxing ring and turns to dust. It's about time someone tells Stallone he's too damn old to be boxing!
The plot -- as usual with spoofs -- is a nothing more than a thin shoestring that holds the jokes together. David Koechner portrays Lambeau Fields, the most unsuccessful coach in sports history. He gets one more chance when he's offered a gig in Plainfolk, Texas coaching the under-achieving football team of Heartland State University. Carl Weathers and Matthew Lawrence lead the supporting cast as the rival coach and a ballerina/quarterback whose transvestite father (Nick Searcy) favors baseball to football.
Fans of sports dramas might not find The Comebacks to their taste, but for those who would rather step on a tack than sit through another Miracle, this film is a long overdue revival to the spoof genre.