The Longest Yard

The Longest Yard

**

Reviewed by: Josh Morrall

You either love Adam Sandler, or you hate him. Most critics are of the latter persuasion and, when watching The Longest Yard, it is not difficult to see why.

This aptly titled sports comedy wears thin almost as soon as it has begun, trudging towards a ridiculously over-long finale, which only achieves a hint of excitement when stealing shots from the far superior American football film Any Given Sunday.

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It begins with Paul "Wrecking" Crewe (Sandler) locking his girlfriend (Courteney Cox) in her wardrobe and hitting the streets in her Bentley, a beer in his hand. After a car crash in which Crewe is unfortunately not killed, he is sent to prison for three years, where he is coaxed (beaten) into putting together a team of inmates to play against the guards.

The gratuity of the opening scene, in which Cox spends her time leaning over in a low cut top - no doubt, a director's ploy to distract the audience from the glaring inadequacy of Sandler's acting - reflects the in-your-face comedy of most of the film. The lack of any subtlety numbs the audience.

This is an infantile film, condoning aggression and forcing us to sympathise with an alcoholic protagonist, whom nobody likes and who aims to gain our affections with humour based solely on raised intonations and shouting, "Now sit down and shut up!"

The supporting cast is the source of most of the laughs. Although he is not around for very long, Chris Rock, as the meek Caretaker, serves as an amusing distraction. Nelly and wrestler Kevin Nash's mild mannered characters are also enjoyable, but Burt Reynolds, who played Crewe in the Seventies original, arrives on screen with a laboured entrance and adds very little to the proceedings - seemingly cast for name-drop value only.

This aims to be a gritty, blue-collar movie about team spirit, while attempting to be a comedy, without a funny script, or well-timed set pieces. The final showdown may well have been an intense and entertaining battle, had it been in a drama, or an action picture, but after 90 minutes of relative boredom, the last thing you need is an overlong football match, especially if you're not familiar with the game.

The Longest Yard is a step down from Anger Management and [film]50 First Dates[/film], Peter Segal's previous films with Sandler.

Lock this up and throw away the key.

Reviewed on: 10 Sep 2005
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The Longest Yard packshot
Remake of the Burt Reynolds prison football drama of the Seventies - with jokes?
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Chris *1/2

Director: Peter Segal

Writer: Sheldon Turner, based on the 1974 screenplay by Tracy Keenan Wynn

Starring: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds, James Cromwell, Walter Williamson, Michael Irvin, Nelly, Edward Bunker, Lobo Sebastian, Bob Sapp, Courteney Cox

Year: 2005

Runtime: 113 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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