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"The Longest Yard"

Directed by Peter Segal.
Written by Sheldon Turner.  Based on the 1974 film written by Tracy Keenan Wynn.
Starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, William Fichtner and Burt Reynolds.
Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  5/30/05


No, I haven't seen the original, but I am finding more and more that that matters less and less.  "The Longest Yard", based on the '70s prison comedy-drama of the same name, follows the career move of former NFL MVP Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) from burned-out former jock-turned-alcoholic to prison inmate, thanks to a stunt in his girlfriend's Bentley that lands him in the slammer for a three-year sentence.  Turns out he's at this particular prison thanks to some favors pulled by a dirty warden (James Cromwell) who needs Crewe to give some pointers to his slightly-underachieving prison guards team...but, since that team doesn't want Crewe's help, the warden gives him a different task:  assemble a group of inmates that will serve as a scrimmage team that the guards will presumably beat up on before taking on other guards teams throughout the state.

I won't lie--this is as much as I've liked any Sandler movie since maybe "Happy Gilmore", but even then, it's not really because of Sandler (much like my love for "Happy Gilmore" comes in the form of Bob Barker, Ben Stiller--"How about I get you a glass of shut the hell up?"--and Carl Weathers, with that goofy fake hand).  This is because "The Longest Yard" uses cameos to near perfection; I'm telling you, the number of times I was howling at the cameos in "The Longest Yard" was innumerable.  The fake mustache on Dan Patrick?  Bill Romanowski, former dirty NFL linebacker, as a dirty prison guard?  Michael Irvin, former dirty smack-talking NFL receiver, as a dirty criminal with great hands?  Brian Bosworth...period?  Goldberg, just showing up?

Beyond the cameos, I was kind of shocked how often I was laughing, which I am prone to not do during Sandler's films.  Somehow, Chris Rock fell flat (his track record acting in films continues to be horrific) and Sandler spends most of his time doing reaction shots to his funny co-stars, but the rest of the cast carries the load well.  From Cheeseburger Eddy, to the huge Samoan-looking guy that plays ping-pong in his spare time, to Tracy Morgan playing a transvestite, to a prison guard that has a, well, supplement change in his diet reacting angrily to a teammate

"All I ever did was care!!"

the film was consistently funny; even the normally obnoxious Jim Rome, from ESPN, didn't annoy the shit out of me when he shows up for a cameo late in the film.  Yeah, the football is ridiculous; yeah, Burt Reynolds should have sat this one out; yeah, the death of a key character late in the film could have been left out and still given us some reason for the inmates to take it out on the guards when they get the chance to play.  But, "The Longest Yard" doesn't take itself seriously enough for you to wonder if the people involved really cared about some of its deficiencies, instead focusing on giving us a mostly funny film...and, I think they succeeded despite the recent pedigree of its star.  Now I need to go off and see the original!

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09