The Longest Yard

I know what you’re thinking-“Where the flying hell are The Godfather reviews?”. Well, I’m actually taking my time with them for one very good reason. I want to do them justice. Not because they’re all good (‘cos they’re not) but because they have a combined running time of 9+ hours and I don’t want to miss out something important. Either that or “Jurassic Park III” broke my spirit. Anyway- “The Longest Yard”.

The Longest Yard (2005)

I’m a firm believer in the theory that you can tell a lot about a film merely by the cast list. “The Longest Yard” has Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Nelly and about 3 or 4 professional wrestlers in it. Make of that what you will. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest Adam Sandler fan. It’s not because he isn’t funny- ‘cos he can be, it’s because he seems to “phone it in” a lot of the time. “The Longest Yard” is a prime example of this. So much so in fact, that after watching this film and then trying to remember something memorable he did, I couldn’t think of anything. Surely it’s not too much to expect something memorable from the lead actor?
“Now, listen here, Mr. Frodo, don’t get short with me.”
The basic plot follows disgraced American football player Paul Crewe (Sandler) after he is jailed for three years. It turns out that the Warden (James Cromwell) is organising a football game between the guards and the cons and wants Crewe to be the new quarterback. It’s basically the same plot as the original 1974 film “The Longest Yard” (known as “Mean Machine” over in good ol’ Blighty, which in turn was remade with a British angle in 2001 starring (sigh) Vinnie Jones).

I kept getting the feeling that to appreciate this film, I needed to be about 12 years old and high on sugar. After all, it has a funky hip-hop soundtrack, Nelly, Adam Sandler (who I gather is a “comedy genius” to the under-15s), violence, gay jokes and a fuckload of WWE wrestlers. Bargain. The thing that really got to me is I know that the two leads can do better. As I’ve said before, Sandler can be funny as can Chris Rock. However, in this film they both seem “watered down” to appease the PG-13 certificate. How I fucking hate that certificate.

“I’m glad you’re back, now I don’t have to stab you”

Having never seen the original, I can’t comment on the widely held view that this film doesn’t have enough dark humour to be a proper remake. However, I can comment on the tone of the film which seems to be all over the place. We have the usual juvenile Sandler humour (gay jokes and slapstick physical humour) mixed with darker instances (such as savage beatings and the death of a major character). My main criticism of this film is that it doesn’t seem to know who it’s aiming at. I’ve said this before, but it seems to me that a lot of films have this trouble. My guess is they’re shooting to appeal to everyone (y’know, to make more money) and failing. Having said all that, it is entertaining and never outstays its welcome. Whilst it won’t set your world on fire, I can think of worse ways to waste an hour or so.

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