Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
2.98

Awesome: 21.88%
Worth A Look: 13.28%
Just Average: 14.84%
Pretty Crappy41.41%
Sucks: 8.59%

12 reviews, 56 user ratings



Longest Yard, The (2005)
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Peter Sobczynski

"Sandler as a NFL quarterback is the funniest joke in the film"
2 stars

On the surface, it is hard to imagine two more dissimilar filmmakers than Frank Capra and Robert Aldrich. As seen in films such as “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Meet John Doe” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” Capra believed in the essential decency and honesty of the common man that would allow him to triumph in an overly corrupt world. Aldrich, on the other hand, took the opposite approach–his greatest films (including “Kiss Me Deadly” and “The Dirty Dozen”) presented viewers with a world gone so brutally wrong that the only way that a man could possibly survive it–let alone triumph–was to be even more violent, sadistic and cynical than his opponents. However, the two now have at least one thing in common (other than both being excellent directors)–they have each had the misfortune to have one of their signature films cruelly trashed by Adam Sandler in the form of a thoroughly depressing and unnecessary remake. Three years ago, Sandler transformed Capra’s “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” into a joyless blend of unpleasant slapstick and smarmy sentiment. Now, he has done the same thing with his remake of “The Longest Yard,” a film that knows the words that made Aldrich’s 1974 original such a crowd-pleasing hit but absolutely none of the music.

Those who have seen the original (which was the basis of a 2001 British remake, unseen by myself and, I presume, many others in the States) will quickly discover that this version is virtually a scene-for-scene clone of the original. The story opens as Paul Crewe (Sandler), a former pro football quarterback who was drummed out of the game after accusations of point-shaving, bails on his rich, ball-breaking girlfriend (a cameo by Courtney Cox) by stealing her car and trashing it after a police chase. For that, he gets shipped off to a rough prison under the thumb of the brutal Warden Hazen (James Cromwell) and the even-more-brutal guard Captain Knauer (William Fichtner). Hazen, as it turns out, is an obsessed football fan whose semi-pro team consisting entirely of prison guards, led by Knauer, is shaping up for another tough season. Hazen wants Crewe to lend a hand but Crewe would prefer to avoid football altogether and simply do his time.

After a couple of days in the sweatbox, Crewe relents and suggests that Hazen stage a “tune-up” game before the beginning of the season in order to boost team morale. Hazen not only thinks that is a great idea, he decides that the opposing team should consist of prisoners led by Crewe himself. At first, Crewe’s only team recruits are a rag-tag bunch of misfits who are less interested in the game than in getting a free shot at the guards. Before long, with the help of the well-connected Caretaker (Chris Rock) and another former NFL star, the legendary Nate Scarborough (Burt Reynolds, who played Sandler’s role in the original), Crewe is able to take the field with a team with a decent shot at winning, although Hazen does all that he can to make sure that never happens.

The fundamental difference between the two films is one of approach. In Aldrich’s film, Crewe was depicted as a vain, self-centered, self-loathing jerk who was more than willing to sell out to anyone or anything in order to make his own life a little easier. Viewers weren’t supposed to like him or admire him in any way–this may sound strange to people today but there was a time when the central character in an American did not need to be likable in order to be interesting. Therefore, when he finally made a commitment to something other than himself–despite the enormous hardships that it would cause for him–it was a genuinely inspiring moment that made an even greater impact than the violence and vulgarity. To this extent, Reynolds was an inspired choice for the lead–not only was he convincing in the football sequences (having played ball in college) but the role allowed him to exploit the darkness that has always lurked just beneath his good-ol-boy exterior.

In this version, Crewe is also a vain, self-centered, self-loathing jerk but the difference is that Sandler and his hand-picked director Peter Segal (who previously did “50 First Dates” and “Anger Management”) do everything they can to disguise those traits in order to make him another goofy Sandler hero triumphing over the bad guys with naked aggression and crude behavior. By insisting that we constantly find Crewe to be absolutely adorable throughout, it makes his ironic behind-bars transformation into an admirable person seem completely superfluous. And since they seem to be convinced that the typical Sandler target audience–the one that rebelled when he attempted to stretch himself in “Punch Drunk Love” and “Spanglish”–has no particular notion of self-sacrifice, they completely subvert his transformation by adding in something at the end that assures us that he won’t actually have to suffer in any way for finally doing the right thing instead of the easy thing. If he did, after all, it might bum out a few viewers who want their hero to triumph absolutely and thereby poison the film’s word-of-mouth. (Don’t even get me started on the notion of the slight Sandler as an NFL quarterback–at best, he could probably pass as a former Arena Football player and then only in the event of an especially weak draft.)

So, with the entire point of the original film missing, what are we left with. Well, there are homophobic jokes a-plenty (Tracy Morgan gets to lead a group of wacky transvestite cheerleaders) as well as coarse slapstick. (It only takes 30 minutes before the first football connects with a crotch.) Rock gets to spout plenty of lame lines that traffic in the racially charged comedy that made him famous, only without any of the genuine wit of his stand-up material. As is traditional for a Sandler film, there are plenty of commercial plugs as well–including more product placement for McDonald’s than anyone could possibly expect from a film that is set almost entirely behind the bars of a maximum-security prison. Even the most outlandish joke of the original–the moment where the ginormous prisoner played by Richard Kiel clothesline a guard, inspiring a hilariously profane response from various witnesses, has been changed around to something that manages to be both cruder and grosser than the original, yet does so in a way that still somehow manages to keep things within the parameters of the PG-13 rating. (Along those lines, don’t even ask about who has been hired to reprise the role of the hot-to-trot secretary previously played by Bernadette Peters–let’s just say that the only thing this person has in common with her is the Elsa Lanchester hairdo.)

If there is anything that works in “The Longest Yard,” it is, once again, the performance by Burt Reynolds. This is a man who has, to put it mildly, made more than his fair share of ill-advised career moves over the years. Despite that, the man still has that spark–the sense that he was getting away with something and didn’t care if you knew it or not–that made him a star in the first place and he is the only authentic thing on display in the film. (When he suits up towards the end, he is still pretty convincing among a crowd several decades his junior.) If they aren’t too narcotized by the relentless boredom of the surrounding material, perhaps some enterprising director will recognize this and give him another shot in a film more worthy of him.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12361&reviewer=389
originally posted: 05/26/05 23:43:03
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

8/26/13 Zack I love this movie 5 stars
11/12/09 Homer J. Fong Who is this "Pete" Crewe you keep mentioning? The character's name is *Paul*. 1 stars
5/24/09 Brandon Allin It's a mildly entertaining comedy. 3 stars
11/27/08 Shaun Wallner Hilarious Movie! 4 stars
9/26/08 k. this movie was awesome 5 stars
4/25/07 eddie great very funny just brill 5 stars
4/17/07 David Pollastrini not as good as the original 2 stars
1/21/07 David A. Poor remake of a weak original. This time, the ref gets hit in the nuts with the ball. 1 stars
11/22/06 Austin Wertman HILARIOUS 4 stars
11/16/06 Steve Newman Mean Machine in 1974 the best - British version on soccer was rubbish - this is truly awful 1 stars
9/07/06 drydock54321 do you really believe they would take football that seriously 2 stars
7/24/06 Joyce Verhoeven Cool 5 stars
7/07/06 NS Not much, but funny... and with Courteny Cox. 3 stars
7/07/06 Gerry Irons Funny in parts- overall not a typical sandler movie- bette than the original- like amore ad 3 stars
5/10/06 eric banner sandler did an exelent job in the movie, it was the best movie i've ever seen 5 stars
5/01/06 Anthony Feor Sandler should consider retirement 1 stars
4/24/06 jeffery goodson it was so great 5 stars
4/04/06 Quigley is dum this movie isnt foul Quigley what r u a mom 5 stars
4/02/06 JRE really funny. not as good as the first one though 4 stars
1/10/06 Michael Go Team and all that 4 stars
11/01/05 Dots Funny 5 stars
10/25/05 latrice this movie was the best and nelly was so fine 5 stars
10/25/05 jake awesome 5 stars
10/15/05 Quigley a totally foul and offensive movie. I really miss when movies were GOOD! skip this crap. 1 stars
9/13/05 bbbr sounds good 5 stars
9/09/05 Tori I thought this was a wonderful movie, hilarious 5 stars
8/27/05 Tom Burns A very entertaining movie. 5 stars
7/21/05 susie this movie rocks,i love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/03/05 Vic Great movie...adam is hilarious was good even though i saw it twice in 1 day.agaisnt my wil 4 stars
7/01/05 Eddie Not the best remake 3 stars
6/28/05 Obi Wan Adam Sandler is NOT FUNNY! 1 stars
6/23/05 MICHELE FLORES THIS WAS A GREAT MOVIE, IT WAS FUNNY, SAD, DIVERSE, AND WORTH THE MONEY. 5 stars
6/20/05 Amanda Roberts Definetly not as good as I expected 3 stars
6/15/05 Julia I totally love this movie and i am an 11 year old girl!! 5 stars
6/14/05 Quigley totally disgusting offensive humor that a stupid two year old would laugh at. atrocious!!!! 1 stars
6/14/05 Parsley I don't know what you think but I thought it was cool how it stuck to the origanal. 5 stars
6/14/05 anne Turner its better than all you idiots say it is 4 stars
6/11/05 Tanya Simpson I thought it was hysterically funny 4 stars
6/11/05 Valerie Won't increase your intellect or political awareness, but great for laughs 4 stars
6/08/05 chris kohn even though dis movie was a remake of a classic it still was a hit wit da new generation"X" 5 stars
6/07/05 Drew Peltier I really enjoyed this movie 4 stars
6/07/05 Dave McCulley This movie was hilarious. This reviewer doesn't know good movies. Adam Sandler at his best 5 stars
6/06/05 John Bale Sandler miscast badly in this poor remake that lacks many laughs, but not action. 3 stars
6/06/05 KingNeutron What can I say, I liked it. 4 stars
6/04/05 Brian how many SNL has-bens does it take to make a bad movie? 1 stars
6/04/05 Josh Brogan This was a very funny movie, sandler is a comical genious, see it for yourself 5 stars
6/03/05 Christy Schultz The original was way better... 2 stars
6/02/05 deadwiz Fun for a few laughs, nothing more. 3 stars
6/02/05 Quigley i wish the ratings could go lower, because this crap-fest deserves every stinkin' bit!!!!! 1 stars
6/02/05 drgonzo7 normally i hate Adam Sandler, but this movie wasn't that bad. 4 stars
6/02/05 Hater Sandler is not funny! Can't hold a movie, better suited for skits on SNL! 1 stars
6/02/05 sandler sucks sandler sucks 2 stars
5/31/05 Josh It was awesome! It was so funny. It rocked. I would see it again and again and again. 5 stars
5/28/05 Frank Newhouse Fooooonies! =-) 5 stars
5/28/05 KCobain Sandler officially sucks now. What garbage. 1 stars
5/27/05 tomlove thanhcong 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  27-May-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Sep-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Jun-2005


Directed by
  Peter Segal

Written by
  Sheldon Turner

Cast
  Adam Sandler
  Chris Rock
  Burt Reynolds
  James Cromwell
  Nelly
  William Fichtner



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast