LONGEST YARD, THE: DVD
When former NFL star player Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) is sent to prison for accepting a bribe to throw a game, the Governor (James Cromwell) wants him to train his team of wardens for a big match. Crewe suggests the best way is to have a warm up game with the prisoners and gets the go ahead to form some of the inmates into a football team. With the help of veteran coach Nate Scarborough (Burt Reynolds) and Caretaker (Chris Rock), Crewe promises the cons a chance to exact revenge in a bone-crushing showdown where anything goes. Billing themselves The Mean Machine, the crims become gridiron players in this remake of the 1974 original (which starred Burt Reynolds in the Adam Sandler role).
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If you buy Adam Sandler as a gridiron player you are easily pleased and may get a blast from this simplistic and populist movie - and judge it by the shortest yardstick. With that Sandler proviso, the film succeeds on its own terms, although much of the climactic game is a blur of bodies slamming into each other (with enhanced sound effects), scoreboard close ups that are too up close to read - and general mayhem. The preview audience laughed a lot (more than I did) and the film's all too obvious elements went down a treat.
There are serious moments too, including a racist thread that runs through the film, and a murder. But it's all treated as part of the heavy handed fun, which may be unsettling for anyone who is taking Estrogen instead of Steroids - one of the running gags about a big, mean warden whose pills are swapped by the sneaky cons. Such is the film's humour level; but thank goodness it isn't laxatives.
There's nothing fresh in this movie, and after it, you feel as though you've had a double cheeseburger (another running gag about McDonalds burgers being snuck in for paying prisoners). Sandler does Sandler, and James Cromwell does Cromwell in undemanding nasty mode, which is pretty convincing. The inmates, from oversized hulks to cool black dudes and pathetic weasels of various kinds, are at least colourful (as it were).
You get what you expect with The Longest Yard (at the end of the football field, where the score is made), drained of any real meaning and avoiding anything in the story elements that require discomforting confrontation of issues. It's just a game and by the time the end credits finish, you will have other things on your mind. But if it's escape you want, The Longest Yard is your ride.
There's a music video and some trailers on the DVD.
Published November 3, 2005
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LONGEST YARD, THE: DVD (M)
CAST: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds, James Cromwell, Walter Williamson, Michael Irvin
PRODUCER: Jack Giarraputo
DIRECTOR: Peter Segal
SCRIPT: Sheldon Turner (story by Albert S. Ruddy; 1974 screenplay by Tracy Keenan Wynn
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dean Semler
EDITOR: Jeff Gourson
MUSIC: Teddy Castellucci
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Perry Andelin Blake
RUNNING TIME: 109 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 2, 2005
SPECIAL FEATURES: Music video; trailers
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: October 26, 2005
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.