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adam sandler

The Longest Yard, a remake of a 1974 film of the same name, may not have the same mainstream and broad appeal that last week’s Revenge of the Sith had, but after viewing it, I can honestly say I enjoyed it much, much more than the final chapter in the Star Wars trilogy.

The film centers on Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler), a former pro-football player who was kicked out of the league during a point-shaving scandal that left him drinking and with an up-tight girlfriend (Courtney Cox). After taken her Bentley for a drunken chase, Crewe is arrested and sent to prison, although life on the inside begins to mirror life on the outside.

Warden Hazen (James Cromwell) has pulled a few strings to get Crewe in his prison. Hazen believes that Crewe can give his team of guards a few lessons before the season starts. Paul recommends playing against a team of prisoners to boost confidence, but a series of events puts the slapped together team with an advantage. From there some good-old-fashioned American violence takes place, and the audience couldn’t be any happier.

The casting of Chris Rock and Adam Sandler along side each other seems like pure genius on paper, and for the most part, works very well on screen. The fact of the matter is, Sandler and Rock don’t share a huge amount of screen time, but when they do, some of the film’s best one-liners are delivered. In order to give the appearance of a capable football team, the production staff hired on former pro-wrestlers including Stone Cold Steve Austin and Goldberg. I guess all those years of throwing punches and pretending to be hurt paid off.

The rest of the cast is a collection of one-joke wonders, but in a film such as this, and with a football team as big as it is, each one of them gets a moment to shine. We have the big, dumb player who can hit hard, Cheeseburger Eddy (Terry Crews) who, amazingly, can pull various McDonald’s menu items from his clothing, Nelly as the nearly-unstoppable running back Earl Megget, as well as former NFL star Michael Irvin once again donning number 88. Finally, and most disturbingly, the team of inmates is cheered on by a group of transvestite cheerleaders headed up by a very out-of-work Tracy Morgan.

The film’s jokes seem to hit 90% of the time and while most of them are coming from the gutter, you wouldn’t expect anything more or less from a paint-by-numbers Adam Sandler picture, albeit one of the best ones. Sure, Sandler has shown that he can act in movies like The Wedding Singer, Spanglish, and Punch Drunk Love, but he still knows what his core fans want, and that’s poop jokes and swearing.

Chris Rock, appearing in his second movie of the weekend (he’s also in Madagascar) plays his usual self, a wise-cracking, repressed black-man in a white-man’s world, and it’s just as funny as ever.

I can’t honestly say how close the film is to the original, having never seen it, but Burt Reynolds’ inclusion in the movie is icing on the cake to an already stacked cast the performs more than adequately.

The Longest Yard maintains is pacing throughout the picture, and while the cinematography and direction are basic, its more than enough to get the job done. You don’t need fancy CG effects to see a guy get flattened. While you are never emotionally attached to any of the characters, a turning point in the middle of the movie has you pumped up for the big game.

The film is extremely violent in its portrayal of the pigskin competition at the climax and, quite frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way with a group of sadistic guards taking on those they continue to harass. Jumping kicks, guys crapping themselves from getting hit so hard (one of the better jokes in the movie as well), and Adam Sandler being Adam Sandler provide a fun experience for young and not-quite-too-old.

The Longest Yard isn’t quite up to par with Happy Gilmore as Sandler’s finest work, but it does top everything else including the passable Billy Madison, atrocious Little Nicky, and sub-par Waterboy. If you’re a Sandler fan, and are aching for him to return to his roots, although still show some grown as an actor, The Longest Yard is a touchdown.

Mr. Deeds was a great movie, and there was heated debate on the way out of the theatre if it can top Happy Gilmore as Adam Sandler’s best performance, and best movie, while Mr. Sandler may never win any awards, at the very least he isn’t trying to hard to break from his comedy roots to do drama (cough Jim Carrey cough cough Will Smith cough cough). Man there must be something in the air around here.

Mr. Deeds is a remake of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. The movie features on Sandler’s character, Longfellow Deeds, who inherits $40 Billion dollars from his rich, dead Great Uncle. It seems though the CEO of this company that Deeds’ Great Uncle owns wants to take full control and sell it off in little bits and pieces. While rather predictable (right down to the way Deeds’ reconciles with his love) the movie is enjoyable for a good show, and trying to pick out instances when it looks like Winona Rider is picking Sandler’s pocket.

What works so well with the movie is Adam Sandler himself, he is such a charismatic and great actor, it is no wonder he can come back from a stink-bomb like Little Nicky and still be welcome to take money for our tickets. Any other actor would be scrubbing the crap stains off of the toilets in the restroom rather than starring in a movie playing in one of the biggest theatres in the joint.

And then there was Winona Rider trying to steal things, or we presume.

Oh, yes, Miss Rider whom has had some very troubling conflicts with the law up until this movie does a decent job as Deeds’ love interest, and keeping us on our toes to see what she is stealing from the set, we half expected her to be shown walking off holding all the props she could in one hand while shoving smaller objects in her handbag, and, well other places.

The star of the entire movie falls upon the foot-fetish butler, Emilo, whom has a “sneakiness” way to him and seems to be faster than light when he wants to appear in places. It becomes increasingly funny as the movie goes on to see just how he can move around so much, as well as Winona Rider stealing things (will this ever get old…hmmmm…No).

Mr. Deeds ranks right up there with Sandler’s best performances, but not quite the very best (which still belongs to Happy Gilmore). If you are looking for a good way to waste a couple of hours and don’t want to see Sandler in one of those annoying “accent-driven roles,” go out and see Mr. Deeds, but if you were alive for the original release, be sure to bring extra colostomy bags, because this is one funny movie.

And we get to watch Winona Rider…well you know…