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Overall Rating
2.98

Awesome: 21.71%
Worth A Look: 13.18%
Average: 14.73%
Pretty Bad41.86%
Total Crap: 8.53%

12 reviews, 57 user ratings


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Longest Yard, The (2005)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Rent 'The Waterboy' instead."
2 stars

Like its 31-year-old predecessor, which starred Burt Reynolds as a fallen football star turned jailbird who led a team of convicts against a team of guards, 'The Longest Yard' is too sloppy and lazy to get angry -- or excited -- about.

Adam Sandler is no one's idea of a plausible star quarterback (at least Reynolds actually had a gridiron background), but it must've struck someone as a grand idea to cast him as Reynolds' character, Paul Crewe, who gets sent up for three years after getting drunk, stealing his girlfriend's car, and leading the police on a merry chase. As in the original, it's important that Paul is incarcerated for nothing terribly heinous (he doesn't run anyone over), just as it's significant that we never learn why any of the other cons were thrown in prison. That way, we can safely root for the cons without the troubling knowledge that some of them may be, say, rapists or murderers or child molesters.

That didn't matter so much in 1974, when The Longest Yard was conceived as more of an anti-establishment Vietnam-era comedy -- a feature-length reiteration of the climactic football game in Robert Altman's M*A*S*H. In the language of that day, even if you were a murdering scumbag you still, by definition, had the moral high ground over redneck guards and cruel wardens. The original film tried hard to be a hip jock-strap farce putting The Man in his place, but it was too crude to be anything but another rung in Burt Reynolds' climb down from serious acting (Deliverance) to crowd-pleasing (Smokey and the Bandit and everything that followed). The new Longest Yard, though also released during an increasingly unpopular war, makes the original look like refined satire. The difference is partly in the leads: Reynolds, fresh from his famous Cosmopolitan spread, had a smug, self-regarding insouciance; Sandler, at 38, is still your grungy little brother with an egg-shaped head and no particular sexual identity. He was more credible, and funnier, in his earlier football comedy The Waterboy; he just isn't angry or physical enough this time to rank The Longest Yard alongside fan-favorite Sandler sports movies like Happy Gilmore.

Director Peter Segal (who helmed Sandler's last two hits, Anger Management and 50 First Dates) surrounds the star with some solid support. Chris Rock does his Chris Rock thing as "Caretaker," who helps Paul whip the team into shape, but since his fate follows the original film's plot, the movie stumbles into a tonal bummer it hasn't laid any groundwork for and never recovers from. It's fun to see Ed Lauter (who in 1974 played the sadistic-guard role here filled by a slumming William Fichtner) in a bit role, though I wish someone had found a place for big Richard Kiel, who was the original's most fearsome convict (and also appeared in Happy Gilmore); the Kiel role is taken over by the 7'2" Dalip Singh, whose speech is slurred but understandable, though the movie oddly subtitles his dialogue anyway. Almost visibly sighing with boredom, James Cromwell -- fast becoming typecast as the Skinny Bad White Man -- plays the hateful warden with no identifiable venom or even racism. And Burt Reynolds, looking flat-out terrible these days, grabs his paycheck and plays the old football legend who helps coach the team. At times you might catch him looking at Sandler and thinking that they don't make bad-ass anti-heroes like they used to.

Occasionally amusing -- mildly amusing -- and never offensive (except when it drags out a quintet of flamingly gay convicts who dress in drag as cheerleaders), this is your typical empty summer comedy, positioned bravely as the Sith-slayer, though its release date is the only ballsy thing about it. People mythologize the '70s as a golden decade, forgetting such surefire audience-pleasing schlock as the original Longest Yard, but comparing the 1974 movie with the 2005 remake yields the dispiriting insight that Hollywood can't even make credible rabble-rousing junk any more. As for Adam Sandler, he's already made his great sports comedy; I have a large soft spot for Happy Gilmore, which found roughhouse slob humor in golf, of all things. He's getting a little long in the tooth for knockabout comedy, confirmed herein by how little gridiron action his Paul Crewe actually engages in.

I don't know that Sandler's future lies in artsy misfires like 'Punch-Drunk Love' or in family-friendly sitcoms like 'Spanglish.' I do know that it doesn't lie in remakes of films that were crappy to begin with.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12361&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/21/07 07:59:50
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User Comments

7/18/14 qpevwsu USA 2 stars
8/27/13 Zack I love this movie 5 stars
11/13/09 Homer J. Fong Who is this "Pete" Crewe you keep mentioning? The character's name is *Paul*. 1 stars
5/25/09 Brandon Allin It's a mildly entertaining comedy. 3 stars
11/28/08 Shaun Wallner Hilarious Movie! 4 stars
9/27/08 k. this movie was awesome 5 stars
4/26/07 eddie great very funny just brill 5 stars
4/18/07 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
11/23/06 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
9/08/06 drydock54321 do you really believe they would take football that seriously 2 stars
7/24/06 Joyce Verhoeven Cool 5 stars
7/08/06 NS Not much, but funny... and with Courteny Cox. 3 stars
7/08/06 Gerry Irons Funny in parts- overall not a typical sandler movie- bette than the original- like amore ad 3 stars
5/11/06 eric banner sandler did an exelent job in the movie, it was the best movie i've ever seen 5 stars
5/02/06 Anthony Feor Sandler should consider retirement 1 stars
4/25/06 jeffery goodson it was so great 5 stars
4/05/06 Quigley is dum this movie isnt foul Quigley what r u a mom 5 stars
4/03/06 JRE really funny. not as good as the first one though 4 stars
1/11/06 Michael Go Team and all that 4 stars
11/02/05 Dots Funny 5 stars
10/26/05 latrice this movie was the best and nelly was so fine 5 stars
10/26/05 jake awesome 5 stars
10/16/05 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
9/10/05 Tori I thought this was a wonderful movie, hilarious 5 stars
8/28/05 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
7/02/05 Eddie Not the best remake 3 stars
6/29/05 Obi Wan Adam Sandler is NOT FUNNY! 1 stars
6/24/05 MICHELE FLORES THIS WAS A GREAT MOVIE, IT WAS FUNNY, SAD, DIVERSE, AND WORTH THE MONEY. 5 stars
6/21/05 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
6/15/05 Quigley totally disgusting offensive humor that a stupid two year old would laugh at. atrocious!!!! 1 stars
6/15/05 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
6/12/05 Tanya Simpson I thought it was hysterically funny 4 stars
6/12/05 Valerie Won't increase your intellect or political awareness, but great for laughs 4 stars
6/09/05 chris kohn even though dis movie was a remake of a classic it still was a hit wit da new generation"X" 5 stars
6/08/05 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
6/07/05 John Bale Sandler miscast badly in this poor remake that lacks many laughs, but not action. 3 stars
6/07/05 KingNeutron What can I say, I liked it. 4 stars
6/05/05 Brian how many SNL has-bens does it take to make a bad movie? 1 stars
6/05/05 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
6/03/05 deadwiz Fun for a few laughs, nothing more. 3 stars
6/03/05 Quigley i wish the ratings could go lower, because this crap-fest deserves every stinkin' bit!!!!! 1 stars
6/03/05 drgonzo7 normally i hate Adam Sandler, but this movie wasn't that bad. 4 stars
6/03/05 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
6/01/05 Josh It was awesome! It was so funny. It rocked. I would see it again and again and again. 5 stars
5/29/05 Frank Newhouse Fooooonies! =-) 5 stars
5/29/05 KCobain Sandler officially sucks now. What garbage. 1 stars
5/27/05 tomlove thanhcong 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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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



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