The Longest Yard (2005)

Adam Sandler seeks redemption in the last place he ever imagined in this remake of the classic comedy!

For former football player Paul “Wrecking” Crewe, he once had it all. That is, until he was caught shaving points and had ended his career. When he grows tired of Lena controlling him, he decides to ditch her all while stealing her car during a party she is hosting. He gets busted and finds himself serving an 18-month sentence at Citrus State Prison. His reputation as a former football star and now disgraced washed up player has given him lots of rivals while in prison, especially heard guard Captain Knauer, the leader of the prison’s football team, who forces Crewe not to coach the guards much to the chagrin of Warden Hazen.

When Warden Hazen has learned that Crewe has been ticking off the guards and a few fellow prisoners, he comes up with an idea that could help both of them. Crewe is asked to form a team of convicts to face off against the guards in an exhibition football game. Reluctant, Crewe agrees and forms the most eccentric team of players and as they prepare for the game against the guards, they merge a bond they never imagined ever forming. What will happen on the day of the big game?

In 1974, Burt Reynolds starred in one of the best football comedies made, The Lonegest Yard. When it was announced 31 years later that Adam Sandler of all people would be in a remake, it was met with loads of trepidation. The reason is pretty obvious. However, Sandler makes good nods to the original and lightens a bit on his trademark with certain scenes, noticeably a scene where Paul must get with the secretary to get reels of the guards.

While Sandler takes the reins as Crewe, Burt Reynolds himself is great as the mentor role of Nate Scarborough, originally played by Michael Conrad. Chris Rock takes over for Jim Hampton as “Caretaker”, who is seen more as a pussycat than someone to take seriously. Much like its original, stars of football, pro wrestling and even mixed martial artists (okay, one in Bob Sapp) make up the cons and guards who will engage in the game. However, in Sandler form, the need to play a few pranks must be done and Kevin Nash’s guard Engleheart undergoes something hilariously funny before and during the game.

Nelly makes a welcome addition to the cons as Earl Megget, who becomes the star runner of the team while James Cromwell makes a welcome replacement for Eddie Albert as the unscrupulous Warden Hazen. It should be mentioned that the original Captain Knauer, Ed Lauter, makes a cameo during a scene at a golf course where Sandler is asked to take a picture with him. The legendary David Patrick Kelly, forever known for his iconic role of Luther in The Warriors, is great as the new Unger, who tends to cause trouble between Crewe and others.

The Longest Yard remake has minimal shades of Sandler’s brand of humor and is more a nod to the original, but Kevin Nash’s Engleheart is the funniest character of the film with his ummm, “transformation”. This is the beginning of a funny career for Nash, who has done more comic roles in films since.

WFG RATING: B

A Paramount Pictures production. Director: Peter Segal. Producer: Jack Giarraputo. Writer: Sheldon Turner; based on the original screenplay by Tracy Keenan Wynn. Cinematography: Dean Semler. Editing: Jeff Gourson.

Cast: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, James Cromwell, William Fichtner, Burt Reynolds, Nelly, Michael Irvin, Bob Sapp, Terry Crews, Nicholas Turturro, David Patrick Kelly, Bill Goldberg, Dalip Singh, Brian Bosworth, Kevin Nash, Steve Austin, Bill Romanowski, Michael Papajohn, Allen Covert, Rob Schneider.

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