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The Longest Yard

By Bret McCabe | Posted 6/1/2005

Director Peter Segal practically plops Adam Sandler into Burt Reynolds’ shoes in this remarkably faithful, surprisingly entertaining, and entirely hollow remake of Robert Aldrich’s 1974 anti-classic. And the hole in its soul comes from its two leads’ differences: Reynolds was a movie macho man and sex symbol who gets his—and, by proxy, 1970s American male—masculinity eviscerated and pointlessly reinstated during the movie; Sandler is the funny nice boy who were s’posed to buy as a MVP quarterback who got in hock with some wise guys and got booted from the NFL for shaving points. The Longest Yard 2005 changes little—disgraced QB Paul Crewe (Sandler) violates his parole and lands in a Texas prison where good ol’ boy warden Hazen (James Cromwell) cajoles Crewe into forming a prison football team to play his guards. The bulk of Yard follows the inmates finding solidarity in being equally fucked and the refreshingly violent game itself. But the stilted MTV-production updates—it actually drops repeated fast-food product placements in an effing prison flick—suck the sad, middle-finger fight in the face of might out of the story. The original slow-cooked its absurd premise and found political volatility in a trivial sporting event about winning a battle en route to losing the war. The remake can’t wait to bust gay jokes and portrays pointless victory as actual triumph. Go team.

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