THE LONGEST YARD
Dumb, Funny Football Remake
Release Date: May 27, 2005
Starring: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Burt
Reynolds, James Cromwell, and
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual
humor, violence, language, and
Runtime: 109 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: Peter Segal
Executive Producer: Barry Bernardi, Allen Covert,
Michael Ewing, David Gale, Tim
Herlihy, and Albert S. Ruddy
Producer: Jack Giarraputo
Writer: Sheldon Turner
Address Comments To:Brad Grey, Chairman
Gail Berman, President
Motion Picture Group
A Paramount Communications Company
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
Phone: (323) 956-5000
The prison warden, played by James Cromwell, has his guards play football against other prison teams. He is highly competitive and additionally attentive to his image because he is considering a run for the Texas governorship. When the ex-MVP arrives at his prison, the warden is excited at the opportunity for Crewe to help train his football team.
Crewe suggests that to get the guards in good shape, they should have a practice game against the inmates. He sets to training his rag tag bunch of loser inmates with some help from Chris Rock’s character “Caretaker” and Nate Scarborough, a former Heisman winner played by Burt Reynolds, the star of the original LONGEST YARD. Most of the movie follows Sandler and Rock as they recruit players for their team and teach them how to play like a real team. They’re prison inmates playing against the guards, though, so it’s a fierce team.
When game day arrives, Crewe’s inmates are surprisingly good on the field. After all, they’ve sustained lots of underhanded tricks and sabotage from the guards. Every player is deeply invested in the game after their hard work. In a way, preparing for this football game has made them forget the misery of their lives behind bars.
As the warden sees the game slipping away at halftime, he privately threatens Crewe with a lifetime in jail if he doesn’t throw the game. Crewe has to decide if his own wellbeing is more important than the spirits of his friends and teammates.
Honor is the axis on which this movie spins. During his NFL career, Crewe sacrificed his honor for money, and shame drove him to become an anti-social jerk. Now Crewe is making friends and accomplishing something, and he decides that honor, honesty and loyalty are too valuable to trade in an underhanded deal.
Furthermore, Crewe is rewarded for his honesty. One of the guards, who had acted unfairly and brutally, recognizes Crewe’s remarkable principle and stands up for him against the warden. In the end, the good and the true defeat the lying and the corrupt.
A high foul language count significantly lowers THE LONGEST YARD’s acceptability rating, with about 33 ‘s’ words and a single ‘f’ word. Crewe drinks and drives in the movie’s first scene, and there is also some sexual innuendo and off-color jokes, including cross-dressing cheerleaders who allude to their crushes on the football team. None of the sex jokes are bawdier than what can be seen on network television, it should be noted.
THE LONGEST YARD is no work of great art, but it delivers some bizarre characters and many true laughs. Unquestionably, it accomplishes what it set out to d: make a dumb, funny football movie.
Even though the guards try to sabotage the inmates’ team, Paul’s team is fantastic and capable of winning. That’s why, during the big game, the warden bribes Paul to throw the game. Paul has to decide if his own wellbeing is more important than his friends and teammates. THE LONGEST YARD has a high foul language count with lots of ‘s’ words and some off-color jokes, including cross-dressing cheerleaders. The bawdy content, however, is similar to what’s on some network TV. Ultimately, honor and honesty win in the end, giving the movie a satisfying aftertaste.