The Longest Yard

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The Longest Yard
Review (7.5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

In the Longest Yard, Adam Sandler stars as Paul Crewe, a former NFL superstar quarterback who has been thrown in a Texas prison for a slew of violations stemming from him drinking, driving and making fun of a police officer's ears. When he arrives at the prison, the Warden (James Cromwell) forces Crewe to assemble a rag-tag team of convicts to play an exhibition football game against a team of prison guards. With the help of a fellow named Caretaker (Chris Rock) and a grizzled veteran named Nate Scarborough (Burt Reynolds), Crewe assembles a team that is sure to give the highly organized prison guards team a run for their money.

The Longest Yard is an entertaining movie. It is funny at times, serious at others, it has a decent story and a surprisingly strong cast. It is brutally racist and pokes fun at homosexuals. (The gay cheerleaders are worth a few good laughs.) I have to admit I have never seen the original movie (made in 1974 and starring Burt Reynolds as Paul Crewe) but Sandler's 2005 version of The Longest Yard is any indication, I will be checking out the original in the very near future. (Okay, who am I kidding, I won't take the time to watch it but it sounded good when I wrote that.)

Just to get back to the cast - some of the strong performances come from very unlikely sources. Former NFLer Michael Irvin is very, very good, as is rap star Nelly, wrestler Steve Austin and football player Bill Romanowski. The movie also stars the likes of wrestlers Bill Goldberg and Kevin Nash, comedian Tracy Morgan, Courtney Cox and a very funny bit by Rob Schneider. ("Let's have a group hug in the shower - or not!") And of course, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds are all excellent in their respective roles. Sandler actually looks like he lost a bit of weight for the movie. I know he usually has a bit of a belly and I wondered about that and how he was going to look playing a professional athlete, but he fit well into the role.

Perhaps one criticism I would have of The Longest Yard? It was way too loud. I don't mean the music was too loud. The football sequences were too loud. The players hitting each other sometimes sounded like a fight between Godzilla and King Kong. It was just too much.

And with all this being said, I will sign out by saying that The Longest Yard is a silly, unrealistic, yet comfortably entertaining movie. Don't expect Oscar-worthy performances here. Don't expect an Academy Award winning script. As the saying goes, "check your brain at the door" and you should be just fine. This movie will not go down in history as memorable, great or anything like that but it will do a good job at entertaining you for a short while before you forget it soon after.

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