Going ‘long’ was never an option once Sandler was chosen to QB
Why bother going down the path of comparing the new Adam Sandler-ized version of the 1974 classic “The Longest Yard” with its predecessor? Those who remember the original, which starred Burt Reynolds, will only be frustrated and angry by the modern version that has none of the subtlety or serious tone or even the laugh-out loud moments of the first. But this version wasn’t made for them, so who cares? When you put the pudgy, pouty Sandler into the role of an ex-pro football quarterback and team him up again with a director of questionable ability (Peter Segal), then credibility is obviously not a priority.
Even pushing 70, Reynolds, a college athlete long before he became an actor, still looks more the part than the former “Waterboy.” (Notice how every real athlete in the film dwarfs Sandler, even average-sized former pro QB Sean Salisbury.)
And since we’re comparing who-can-fill-whose-jockstraps, let’s not forget that the 1974 original was directed by Robert Aldrich, famous for helming “The Dirty Dozen” as well as directing icons such as Jimmy Stewart and Betty Davis. Segal (“Anger Management,” “50 First Dates”) isn’t in the same league … yet. (We’ll give him the benefit of a huge doubt.)
But again, the audience “The Longest Yard” intends to satisfy cares little for such minutiae. It wants to see the hard hitting action in the showdown of the prison guards versus the inmates, a nice turn by Chris Rock as Sandler’s cell buddy, and as many former football player cameos as there are product placements.
As a bonus, rapper Nelly appears to be a better running back than he is a recording artist.
This remake is long on “B-word” putdowns, transvestite cheerleaders, sexual innuendo and bone-crushing tackles. As a silly football movie it’s miles ahead of Oliver Stone’s unintentionally ridiculous “Any Given Sunday.” As a remake it is not trying to achieve anything close to the original, but we are watching it for the same reason Burt is doing it: Insufficient options.
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, violence, language and drug references.