The Longest Yard Movie Review

When Adam Sandler isn't interesting enough to hold yourattention in an Adam Sandler movie, something is certainly amiss. In "TheLongest Yard" -- an off-balance remake of Burt Reynolds' 1974 prison-footballcomedy -- the star's underwritten character loses all sense of personalityafter the opening scene, in which his washed-up, alcoholic loser, ex-NFLquarterback leads police on a drunken high-speed chase.

Thus imprisoned in a dusty desert lock-up where the abusive,steroid-pumped guards (all played by wrestlers or former pro football linemen)have their own pigskin league, Sandler is compelled by the nasty warden(James Cromwell) to coach a scabby team of inmates for his boys to beatup on in practice. But for some reason known only to the screenwriter,these practices never happen. Instead, the movie follows the standard BigGame plot, and Sandler (who doesn't have the body mass to be credible asa former football player) recruits and trains the biggest, meanest prisonershe can find, then leads them onto the field himself (with Reynolds' helpas another ex-NFL inmate) for a full-contact finale picked up by ESPN2for a novelty national broadcast.

Unfortunately, once he's in the hoosegow and sobered up,all the bite goes out of Sandler's QB and he is severely upstaged by thecast of crazies (Cloris Leachman is the warden's aged, sex-mad secretary,Tracey Morgan leads the transvestite cheerleading squad) and muscle-boundtoughs (Brian Bosworth, Michael Irvin, Bill Romanowski, Steve Austin, BillGoldberg, etc.). Most of these guys can barely act, but at least directorPeter Segal ("50First Dates") figures out how to use themfor laughs.

What Segal can't seem to do is get a handle on the movie'sbalance of comedy and drama, on one hand relying heavily on race-basedone-liners (ChrisRock plays the joint's resident wisecracker),while on the other trying for moments of poignancy that fall awkwardlyflat. Because "The Longest Yard" takes itself seriously at times,it's harder to forgive the occasional gigantic plot hole -- like the factthat the inmates seem to have access to any room they want in the penalcomplex, even getting into the guards' locker room and personnel files.

Once the climactic game begins, the movie rebounds brieflybecause unlike in more clich=E9-driven sports flicks, everybody here is playingdirty, and Sandler -- whose character had originally been kicked out ofthe NFL for point-shaving -- is faced with an ultimatum from the now-threatenedwarden: Either throw the game or get framed for a recent prison murder.But these scenes are undermined by such an overkill of editing (split-screens,zooms and varying camera speeds are used creatively but excessively) anda surfeit of play-by-play narration that it soon feels as if the playersare following the directions of ESPN's Chris Berman (in an extended cameo),instead of Berman just describing their action on the field.

Had "The Longest Yard" been either a little dumberor a little smarter, it might have overcome its underdeveloped game planand underwritten lead character. But Adam Sandler (also the film's producer)and Peter Segal fumbled the ball.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Starring : , , , , , , , , Brian Bosworth, David Patrick Kelly, , Bill Romanowski, Joey Diaz, , , , , , Dalip Singh


Comments

The Longest Yard Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, WIDE: Friday, May 27, 2005

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