Follow Us on Twitter

The Longest Yard - Review

The Longest Yard

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Music Video Errtime By Nelly; 9 Deleted Scenes With Optional Director Commentary; Blooper Reel; Featurettes.

ADAM Sandler used to be a name synonymous with lewd, crude humour that plays to the lowest common denominator.

But of late he has cleaned up his act, displayed some terrific versatility and won new friends from all walks of the film-going community (think Punch Drunk Love or Spanglish).

Yet as adventurous as some roles have become, Sandler cannot resist returning to the formula that helped make him famous, as was the case with 50 First Dates and now The Longest Yard.

What is surprising, however, is that the latter – a remake of the Burt Reynolds film of the same name – isn’t as dirty as you might expect.

The ingredients are there – from Sandler’s alcoholic has-been American football star to the prison setting, in which guards take a sadistic pleasure in humiliating the inmates.

Yet in spite of this, The Longest Yard remains a cleaner, more politically-correct remake that lacks the grunt of Reynolds’ original mean machine. Simply put, it’s just not mean enough.

As a result, the film feels like a missed opportunity for some good old adult fun – wasting the presence of both Sandler and Chris Rock, rather than utilising them for outrageous effect.

The plot remains the same. Sandler is the football screw-up who argues with his girlfriend (Courtney Cox-Arquette) before hopping drunkenly into her prized car and deliberately crashing into the chasing police vehicles.

He is then sent to a prison ruled by James Cromwell’s football-obsessed warden, where he becomes a pawn in a football match between the guards and his inmates.

As a result, Sandler sets about recruiting the meanest team possible, enlisting the likes of Rock’s caretaker and a veteran (Burt Reynolds) to inflict the maximum possible damage.

Yet while this motley bunch of players looks more beefed-up and steroid-driven than anyone in the original, they are actually far softer by comparison, frequently stopping for time-outs to display their sensitive side.

Sandler, too, plays things cute rather than feisty and looks completely out of place among his over-sized team-mates.

But then Peter Segal’s film has very little to do with credibility and is nowhere near as bruising or foul-mouthed as audiences might expect.

A lot of the jokes, too, appear overly repetitive and consistently unfunny, content to play things as dumb as possible, rather than coming up with anything inspired.

Were it not for some nice interplay between Sandler and Rock, or the excitement of the actual big game itself, this would have been a complete write-off.

As things stand, it passes the time – but only for those in search of the proverbial no-brainer.