The Longest Yard 

Genre: Underdog sports comedy

The pitch: In this remake of the 1974 Burt Reynolds prison comedy, disgraced former football player Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) leads the Mean Machine, a team of violent inmates, in a game against their sadistic guards. What does it say about the leading men of modern cinema when the Waterboy is playing the roles of the Bandit?

Money shots: The opening car chase ends when police cars collide with Crewe's Bentley from every possible angle. A literal riot breaks out at the prison team's first scrimmage. Crewe plays Ping-Pong to recruit hulking inmate (India's Dalip Singh). Sandler's detractors won't mind seeing him imprisoned and beaten for the first half-hour.

Body count: One fatality, but that doesn't count dozens of broken bones, footballs to the groin and impressively acrobatic tackles.

Flesh factor: A bikini-clad honey swims through the opening shot. As Crewe's bitchy girlfriend, Courtney Cox Arquette shows more cleavage than she did on 10 seasons of "Friends." Otherwise, it's mostly ass-crack and male shower scenes (chastely shot).

stunt casting: Burt Reynolds plays the Mean Machine's aging coach. Wrestlers and football players man both teams, including Bill Goldberg, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Brian Bosworth. But Kevin "Diesel" Nash gets the biggest laughs as a steroid-using guard who is secretly given estrogen.

Product placement: ESPN2 broadcasts the big game. Inmate Cheeseburger Eddy (the genuinely amusing Terry Crews) obsesses about McDonald's.

Politically incorrect?: Yes, but not in a good way. Yard appreciates the difference when Chris Rock's brash inmate and the white racist guards use the n-word. Despite being anti-racist, The Longest Yard is pro-homophobic and endlessly makes sport of effete men — possibly to make Sandler seem more "macho."

Hit single: "Errtime" by Nelly, who plays the Mean Machine's fastest runner. Otherwise the soundtrack features predictable jock jams like Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky."

Better than the original?: No. The more straight-faced 1974 comedy also worked as one of the era's challenge-the-system films, like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for armchair quarterbacks.

Off-Screen controversy: At Longest Yard's premiere, Reynolds struck a CBS assistant producer in the face. Following Reynolds' Atlanta puppet-strangling episode in 2003, maybe the Adam Sandler movie he should have starred in is Anger Management.

The bottom line: The authority-defying premise and violent punchlines still click, but the gay-bashing humor gives The Longest Yard penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct. Now playing.


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Recent Comments

  • Re: Fresh air

    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

    • on June 29, 2016
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