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   Movie Reviews: The Longest Yard
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Studio:
     Paramount Pictures
Plot:
     An imprisoned pro quarterback is told to put together a football team of inmates to take on the guards.
Cast:
     Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds, William Fichtner, James Cromwell
Rating:
     PG-13
Bottom Line:
     **

Coverage:
by
Briana McNeil

Adam Sandler stars as Paul Crewe, an ex NFL player whose career ended when he was brought up on federal racketeering charges for shaving points off a game. On probation, depressed and downright surly Crewe takes his girlfriend’s car and a six pack for a serious joy ride which ends in a high speed chase and Crewe smashing the luxury vehicle into a cluster of cops. An obvious probation violation, Crewe is sent to the Allenville Federal Penitentiary.

As soon as Crewe arrives he is scorned by inmates for the game he threw, a crime, in their minds much worse than your everyday arson, murder or rape. Crewe is also harassed by the correction officers who know what the Warden, played by James Cromwell, is up to when they escort Crewe to his office upon arrival. The Warden loves his football, and is the head of a semi-professional team of Allenville correction officers. Warden recruits Crewe to assemble a team of inmates to play the correction officers; an inmate team to bolster the confidence of the Warden’s team before they face more threatening competition.

With the help of Caretaker, Chris Rock, Crewe compiles a group of gnarly, gargantuan brutes. When I say gargantuan, I mean it; see Dalip Singh, the 400lb, 7 foot 2 inch man from India, and real life wrestlers, NFL players and rap artist Nelly for good measure. The gathering of the team is full of follies, blunder, violence and stereotype after stereotype. Crewe, must gain the trust of men who believe he committed the cardinal sin of football, men that don’t trust his race, while being sabotaged by the correction officers who have the men’s lives in their hands.

This makes for a movie identity crisis. This movie is as disturbing as it is funny and director Peter Segal and producer Sandler should have taken us down one path, not two. Furthermore, not once am I convinced that Sandler is Crew, ex NFL player, new convict. Sorry, it is merely the legacy of Happy Gilmore. Chris Rock is hardly distinguishable in this film either, playing lowly sidekick to Crewe, and then languishing at the end of the film. Burt Reynolds, the original movie’s Crewe, plays the knowing and wise co-coach of the motley bunch, Nate Scarborough.

This movie runs on high octane violence and cheap prison humor. The last 30 minutes of the movie is the extreme game between the inmates and the guards, televised by none other then ESPN. I don’t know, does this ever, or would this ever happen in real-life. I think not. For all my scoffs, the audience who sees this movie won’t be disappointed in the blows, smashes, and trampling that happens during the game. Added in the disarray are comedians, like Tracy Morgan, playing a cross dressing cheerleader, Rob Schneider and Nicholas Turturro playing inmates, and Cloris Leachman as the Warden’s secretary.

This movie is appealing to anyone who is into high octane violence housed in a football field.

If you want to see Sandler or Rock at their comedic best, this is not the film to see.

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