Do you love prison movies? How about
football movies? Have you ever dreamed that someone would combine
The Shawshank Redemption with Any Given Sunday? Your
dreams have come true. Congratulations.
The Longest Yard
is a remake of the 1974 film starring Burt Reynolds. Maybe you
didn't know this, but Burt Reynolds was an all-star half back for
Florida State University (back in the good ol' days). Maybe you
did know it. What's that got to do with anything?
Burt Reynolds also appears in the remake, but in a minor role.
Taking the helm as quarterback and star is Adam Sandler. That's
right. When you think of an all-star pro athlete type, Adam
Sandler leaps to mind. Hey, no one claimed this was an accurate
historical retelling of real-life events.
Chris Rock is also in the film as the wisecracking and loveable
friend. He's a funny guy. The Masked Reviewer wonders what
he's in for.
Filling out the cast are a number of real life ball players (like
Michael Irvin, Terry Crews, Bill Romanowski, and Brian Bosworth).
There are also a number of Really Big Guys. See, they wanted the
players in the prison football movie to be very big and very
intimidating. So, you've got your Bill Goldberg, your Kevin Nash,
and your Stone Cold Steve Austin from the wrestling world. But
they weren't big and bad enough, so they also brough in 6'5" Bob Sapp
(who went from the NFL to World Champion K-1 Fighter). And they
needed someone bigger, still. So they got Dalip Singh.
This is his first film. He's 6'11 1/2" and weighs 387 pounds.
Not only that, he's muscular and huge. Not only is he a
powerlifter, he has a background in a variety of martial arts.
You'll be seeing him in a lot more movies, guaranteed. He makes
Andre the Giant look like Puny the Teeny-Weeny. He makes the guy
who played Jaws in the Bond movies seem like Pee-Wee Herman. He is
a Big Man. The Masked Reviewer predicts that he will often be
playing a bad guy in movies. For some reason, everything he said
was subtitled, although he was speaking understandable English.
Hey, for a guy that big, if he wants subtitles, give him subtitles!
There were a number of other supporting players, like Cloris Leachman,
James Cromwell, Nick Turturo, and Nelly. And you know what?
Everyone was good. The cast was universally solid, which is a
surprise considering the number of people cast solely for the size of
their bodies as opposed to the size of their acting talent...except of
course for Dalip Singh, who is not only huge, but hugely talented (just
in case he's reading).
On to the nitty-gritty. This isn't a typical goofy Adam Sandler
movie. He's not the focus of the film -- with so many characters
to introduce, he barely gets the majority of the screen time. He
isn't silly or his regular "awww shucks" persona...though he does play
up that angle of the character. Adam Sandler isn't given too many
jokes to work from, but he does get a few Sandleresque moments.
But Happy Gilmore this is not.
The biggest complaint about the film is the writing. It's very
weak. It's very TV-like. There are a lot of predictable
jokes that aren't particularly funny, but appeal to the widest audiences
because they're familiar. Chris Rock makes a "Can't we all just
get along?" joke...heard that one before? Sure, not for a long
time, and for good reason. And most of the jokes are like that.
Even so, The Longest Yard transcends the lame writing by
really getting the viewer interested in the outcome of the big game
(it's not too much of a spoiler in a sports movie to say that there's a
big game, is it?). People will find themselves rooting for the
cons...sure, they're a bunch of murderers and rapists, but they're so
much better than those mean ol' guards.
Burt Reynolds...something has to be said. He looks...bad.
Too much plastic surgery. His face is pulled unnaturally tight.
It's a good thing he's got his hairpiece, otherwise the knot of skin on
the top of his head would be truly frightening. Seriously...he was
hard to look at on screen. He's around 70: there's nothing wrong
with looking your age. At any moment, the skin on his face looked
like it could give way.
The football action was top notch...interesting plays, good
footage...nice use of slow-mo and interesting angles. You might
even forget that it's Adam Sandler who's supposed to be the pro player
in the crowd. But then you'll see him, and you'll remember, and
you'll wonder whose idea it was to cast him.
There was some very weird product placement by McDonald's. One
character referred to everyone as "McThis" and "McThat" and he kept
pulling out cheeseburgers as contraband in the prison. Where do
inmates get that much McDonald's? And who thought that this was a
good way to convince people to eat more?
A couple of the groups that like to protest movies with righteous
indignation might be upset by some of the things that occur in the
movie. Prison guards aren't portrayed in the best light.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving could think that the film trivializes the
severity of DUI. Football officials might not like the picture
that's painted of them, either. Well, lighten up, people.
It's a football prison movie, with Adam Sandler at
quarterback...clearly, it's not to be taken seriously.
Overall, it's an enjoyable film if you like football movies.
Did you enjoy The Replacements with Keanu Reeves? Whoa.
Well, this might be the movie for you. It's not nearly as funny as
you might expect, and the writing is truly sub-par (even compared to
Billy Madison; but the acting is fun, the action is good, and the
actors are all charismatic. The story is uneven and the film is
unsure of what it's trying to be...one moment it's comedy, then it's
serious, then it's light again...but overall the whole is much better
than the parts. Fans of football movies will want to see this more
than other people, but it's an okay time for anyone.
Expectation from the Title: Sequel to the highly successful
The Lightest Pound, but this time, it's personal.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Dalip Singh has very good posture for a giant freakish monster.
The Pros: Good football action, big cast that's very likable
across the board.
The Cons: Not a typical Adam Sandler movie, not as funny as
you might expect, really hack writing.
Adam Sander, Cris Rock, Bert Reynolds,