Home > Movies & Television > A Couch Potatoe’s Review of The Longest Yard (2004)

A Couch Potatoe’s Review of The Longest Yard (2004)

11/30/2005

     The movie is about an ex-football star – Crewe (played by Adam Sandler) who through a bad-boy and drunken attitude, ends up in jail.  There, the warden (played by James Cromwell) tries to convince Crewe to help him with whipping the prison’s football team into shape so that they win the all-stars and rocket the warden into a peachy position for the gubernatorial race.  Crewe convinces the warden in setting up some B-rated scrimmage against some of the convicts in this 2004 remake of the 70’s movie of the same name…

 


 

     Normally, this isn’t the sort of movie I would sit down to watch or rent, even if I was the boredest man on the planet.  Not only that, but sometime early last year, I had come to the conclusion that Hollywood had run out of original ideas (for the most part), and this milking of the remakes/re-imaginings has reached a level I couldn’t remotely put up with.  But it was either sit there and watch it or disappear to my room, I chose to sit through it instead of risking the possibility of unnecessary hurt feelings, misbegotten animosity, and the curiosity that I was in some way sinking back into some wallow of depression.

      To be perfectly and bluntly honest — this movie was only borderline amusing.  It was readily apparent when reading through the credits at the beginning of the remake, that Sandler is attempting to flex some executive muscle by being not only top billed in this film, but also the Executive Producer.  However, credibility is totally thrown out the window when Sandler’s character is said to be being an Ex-Pro Quarterback who had been expelled because of unfounded racketeering charges, given the fact that he’s only a couple of inches taller than me, only a couple of pounds lighter than me, and having the build of a Hollywood Aerobics Trainer on Steroids. 

     To add to the unbelievability factor in this film, is Burt Reynolds having a guest appearance in the film.  While the audience was fortunate in that he didn’t attempt to reprise his role as QB from the original film in the 70’s; Reynolds does attempt one play during the actual game of the Pros (the prison guards) against the Cons (the convicts) in which as I sat there and watched him bounce about like some spry twenty-something (thanks largely to his stunt double) in total disbelief.  Sorry…  Reynolds is old enough to be my father, and while I’ve seen Jack Lalane do some pretty spry things during his exercise show in the late 60’s/early 70’s — I’m fairly sure that he wouldn’t have ever attempting to play football against men half his age without the threat of bones being broken. 

     To add to the motley cast of characters were pro wrestlers "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (as a prison guard), and Goldberg (as an über-hung) Convict.  While I was mildly amused that I could spot them from my exclusive channel-flipping whenever pro-wrestling was on, I was glad that their lines were kept to a minimum, and that their presence in the film was to add to the believability of built men being someplace within the prison system.  At least in this, Sandler did show some Executive Producer believability by actually employing actors to do the speaking roles, instead of the muscle-heads from Pro-Wrestling.

     One thing I would like to say is that I’m moderately glad that the billboard and sideboard advertisements were so misleading.  From the Billboard and Sideboard advertisements I had seen in Atlanta on the way to and from work, was that the Undertaker (played by Chris Rock) gave the public at large the impression that he was going to be some football player in the film.  Now, while I have nothing against the man personally (I find him more believable and more tolerable an actor than Chris Tucker), but I was immensely glad that all Rock’s character was doing was supplying the team with supplies, equipment and information on the guard’s plays from the last season. 

 

     A big downer in the film dealt of course with the prison bitches — which were so flamboyantly and so stereotypically gay that I could only cover my eyes and shake my head in shame.  While I begrudgingly admit that I found them pedantically funny the first couple of scenes, by the end of the film, I didn’t want to see them ever again.  It felt as though I had taken a step back to the early 80’s when gays and lesbians were caricatures of film and stage.   Another sophomoric set of jokes involved one of the prison guards having his anabolic steroids replaced with estrogen, and about halfway through the film he had turned flamboyantly feminine.  While I thought it amusing that the actor had to have been comfortable enough with his sexuality; the disbelievability of the entire premise worked my last gay nerve. 

     I have two kudos for this debacle of testosterone-poisoned remake of the original film.  The first is the fact that much of the heavy language had been toned down in the remake, bringing its rating from R to PG-13.  While this is a double-edged knife in that this sort of movie would pander to a wider (and younger) audience; given the way that swearing is gratuitous in the last decade, cutting it down and/or out actually made the movie tolerable to watch.   The second is the fact that Sandler’s character was actually rather tolerant of the prison bitches; actually showing respect towards them, in spite of the rest of the writing/dialog from the other characters that were derogatory.  To this gay man, at least Sandler shows the kind of respect that I believe out queens and drag queens deserve, in spite of the ridicule from the public at large. 

 

     Bottom Line:  («¶¶¶¶)  Definitely not the sort of thing I would recommend even for the most bored.  Subject yourself to this bomb only if you believe you have no choice in the matter. 

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