The Longest Yard (2005)

"Weak"

The Longest Yard (2005) Review


Sports and sponsorships go together better than Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

AutoTrader.com dumps millions into a deal with ABC for Monday Night Football rights. Olympic highlights are now known as "Chevy Moments." The currency flooding the pro sports market is getting out of hand. Independent filmmakers could make 71 different Blair Witch projects for the amount of money Anheuser-Busch spent on one 30-second Super Bowl commercial.

So why am I surprised to find that the product placement cluttering professional sports also taints The Longest Yard, an otherwise faithful remake of the 1974 football-in-prison classic? We laugh the first time a convict peddles the McDonald's cheeseburgers he's smuggling in his pants. Fifteen burger jokes later, the dude is screaming, "It ain't easy being cheesy," and a clever idea has been charbroiled. Good advertising for the golden arches, but not exactly entertaining for the audience.

Yard should occupy those who skipped the original, which cast Burt Reynolds as Paul "Wrecking" Crewe, a past-his-prime football star who ends up in jail where he's forced to field a team of convicts to play the facility's guards. Thirty-one years later, director Peter Segal and leading man Adam Sandler deliver a scene-for-scene duplication that loses creativity points as it trades bone-on-bone violence from the original for boom-box beats and bling. Reynolds even returns, though this time he's the team's elder statesman, which is sad instead of inspiring.

Sandler isn't the first, second, third, or fourth actor you think of when casting a role once owned by Reynolds, but he's not such an odd choice. The bankable comedian favors sports films (having made two of them himself) and found financial success when he applied his brand of humor to another loose remake, Mr. Deeds. As Crewe, Sandler actually manages this aloof, better-than-you attitude that serves his role as the semi-normal ringmaster in a three-ring circus of stereotypes.

Like the original, Yard targets people's physical attributes in the name of humor. Characters are ridiculed for being too fat, too black, too deranged, and - in Reynolds' case - too old. Co-star Chris Rock pops off a steady stream of jokes, doing his thing and doing it well as he tests the limits of a PG-13 rating. Unfortunately, Rock can't juice every scripted bit, so other actors mumble terrible lines like, "He's so fast, he makes fast people look not fast."

Yard is Segal's third-straight Sandler vehicle after Anger Management and 50 First Dates, and the comedic filmmaker continues to think big picture as he ignores details. Those familiar with the story know that a major character dies before the big game, but I don't remember him being buried the same afternoon! A good director would be concerned, but Segal's too busy furthering the axiom that every actor appears tougher in slow motion, accompanied by a driving rap-metal track.

When not placing products, Yard shuffles cameos from the wide world of sport and beyond. Rapper Nelly impresses as a nimble running back, while former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin reclaims his glory days on Crewe's squad. ESPN commentators and anchors get almost as much screen time as legitimate SAG members Rob Schneider and Cloris Leachman.

As our summer of experimental remakes continues, I'm still trying to figure out which approach works best. The recent failure House of Wax had nothing to do with the horror classic that inspired it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, this modern Yard suffers because it's too much like the movie it aims to remake. There has to be some middle ground between source material and update, so the remake can feel both fresh and familiar. Let's hope one of the many pending releases finds that proper balance.

A mountain of extras can be found on the film's DVD, including deleted scenes, how-we-did-it vignettes, outtakes, and several making-of short films.

The Lonest Yard: It's good to the last drop!



Facts and Figures

Box Office Worldwide: $190.3M

Budget: $82M

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Paul Crewe, as Caretaker, as Coach Nate Scarborough, as Deacon Moss, as Megget, as Battle, as Cheeseburger Eddy, as Switowski, as Brucie, Dalip Singh Rana as Turley, as Torres, Steve Reevis as Baby Face Bob, as Ms. Tucker, as Captain Knauer, Bill Romanowski as Guard Lambert, as Guard Engleheart, as Guard Dunham, Brian Bosworth as Guard Garner, as Guard Papajohn, Conrad Goode as Guard Webster, as Guard Malloy, as Warden Hazen, as Lynette, as Punky

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.