The Longest Yard


Directed by: Peter Segal
Written by:Sheldon Turner
Starring: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds,  James Cromwell, William Fichtner
Released: June 2, 2005
Grade: C

“Oh everything's stolen nowdays. Why the fax machine is nothing but a waffle iron with a phone attached.” – Grandpa Simpson

In a movie theatre a few backs, I saw the rather pathetic trailer for The Longest Yard.  My friend was rather vocal in his opinions – openly declaring it a stupid American rip-off of the 2001 English soccer film Mean Machine.  Well it turns out that Mean Machine was actually a remake of a 1974 film called The Longest Yard.  The bottom line is that this screenplay has now been made into a film three times.  That alone is a shocking thought and it only adds to the theory that there isn’t a single new idea floating around in Hollywood.

Adam Sandler stars as Paul Crewe, a retired pro-footballer who has now become a drunk.  After a few beers one night, Paul takes his wife’s keys and crashes the car into about 10 police vehicles after a lengthy, televised police chase.  Let me pause here to point out that Paul’s wife is played by Courtney Cox of Friends fame.  She’s in the film for about 2 minutes and is not seen again after this opening.  Why?

It seems a bit harsh but Paul is sentenced to three years jail for his indiscretion.  Warden Hazen (Cromwell) has asked that Paul be assigned to his penitentiary so that he can impart his football knowledge on his own team (consisting of the prison guards).  Paul suggests that the guards play a pre-season warm up game against the inmates as a training drill.  The Warden thinks it’s a great idea but so do to the inmates.  It’s their chance to finally get back at them.  This is going to be a very, very physical encounter.

This joke a script gets worse as it goes along.  One of the characters is killed in ridiculous fashion and I’m surprised they tried to squeeze such a sombre moment into a film which is predominantly a “comedy”.  After this point, his death is used as motivation in the big game which is televised nationally by ESPN and attended by a crowd of many thousands.  Does this make a lick of sense?

The film has been produced by Happy Madison Productions, the same company which made 50 First Dates, Anger Management, The Hot Chick, The Animal, Mr. Deeds, Little Nicky and Deuce Bigalow.  As you can see, the company has been set up to fund the works of Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider (who makes another cameo here).  To have made as many films as they have, the company must be quite profitable.  If you ask me though, they’re films are getting worse and worse.  Anger Management and now The Longest Yard are right at the bottom of the barrel.