The Longest Yard


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"The Longest Yard transcends the lame writing by really getting the viewer interested in the outcome of the big game....sure, they're a bunch of murderers and rapists, but they're so much better than those mean ol' guards."










The Longest Yard
The Masked Reviewer

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 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, all here!

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