Longest Yard remake wasnt necessary

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Remakes can be a tricky thing. Sure, the studio gets the benefit of a built-in audience, but a lot of those people are so in love with the original that it makes it hard for the remake to live up to expectations.

This brings me to the new Adam Sandler movie The Longest Yard, a remake of the 1974 Burt Reynolds film that is still a staple on cable TV. While the new version deserves credit for capturing some of the appeal of its predecessor, it is ultimately nothing more than an unnecessary retooling of an already solid piece of work.

I didnt dislike this version, but I didnt like it either. I basically felt indifferent.

Fans of the original know the story. Paul Crewe (Sandler), a former NFL quarterback whose career was cut short by point-shaving allegations, is sent to prison for leading police on a high-speed chase during a drunken binge.

Crewe is content with doing his time, but the warden (James Cromwell) wants the quarterback to assemble a team of inmates to serve as a tune-up for the prisons football team composed of the guards.

Slowly, Crewe begins to whip the convicts into shape leading to your typical big game movie pay-off.

Director Peter Segal does a good job of keeping The Longest Yard at a speedy pace, despite its rather paper-thin plot. But unlike the original, this version lacks that gritty edge that made it so effective. That grittiness is missing throughout, but especially during one of the films most famous moments when a signature line is altered to assure a PG-13 rating.

Like the original, his film does take advantage of its football story by infusing a lot of high profile cameos. Ex-NFL players such as Bill Romanowski and Michael Irvin and pro wrestlers Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kevin Nash all provide some solid moments, but by the time Shawn Salisbury and Chris Berman show up, I wanted to scream, Enough with the cameos!

Sandler is passable in the jock role and Chris Rock provides adequate comic relief. Reynolds shows up in another role and is OK, but his presence only emphasizes how much more entertaining the original was.

Then again, judging by the reaction of the very young crowd I saw The Longest Yard with, it is apparent that the original probably wont matter to this films target audience. Ill concede that people unfamiliar with the original will probably enjoy this version.

Fans of the 1974 film might want to stay home and check their cable guide for the next showing of the original.

Discount dud of the week

This weeks discount dud is The Pacifier (D), a dumb family comedy that inexplicably was one of the biggest hits of the spring.

Vin Diesel stars as Shane Wolf, a Navy SEAL assigned to protect five kids while their mother (Faith Ford) goes overseas to retrieve a safe deposit box that could hold the key to critical U.S. spy technology.

At first Wolf and the kids clash, but since this is Walt Disney everyone gets cute and cuddly and they kill Mickey Mouse. (OK, maybe not, but that could have been a better movie).

The Pacifier plays more like a bad sitcom pilot than a feature film, with plenty of horrendous jokes Diesel changing diapers, Diesel plummeting into a river of sewage (dont ask), and the familys pet duck attacking a character in the groin (after all, you cant go wrong with groin jokes).

The plot is so stupid it is embarrassing. I realize Walt Disney Pictures markets for the family, but is necessary to dumb down the story this much?

About the only positive thing that I can say about The Pacifier is that at least Lauren Graham (Bad Santa and TVs Gilmore Girls) is there to provide some much needed eye candy, but that is about all the praise that I can bestow on this brain-dead comedy.

The Pacifier is playing at the Plaza 6, where all movies are $1.50.

Sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton is now recruiting players for his football game, which will feature the best of the Daily News against WBKOs finest. If you are good enough to be a ringer, e-mail Micheal at mcompton@bgdailynews.com.  Daily News ·813 College St. ·PO Box 90012 ·Bowling Green, KY ·42102 ·270-781-1700 

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