Reviewed by: Kathy Bower
|Featuring:||Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds, William Fichtner, James Cromwell|
|Producer:||Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Jack Giarraputo|
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “The story of pro quarterback Paul Crewe (Sandler) and former college champion and coach Nate Scarboro (Reynolds), who are doing time in the same prison. Asked to put together a team of inmates to take on the guards, Crewe enlists the help of Scarboro to coach the inmates to victory in a football game “fixed” to turn out quite another way.”
If you can’t get out, get even.
A remake of the original 1974 movie of the same name, the basic story of “The Longest Yard” remains unchanged—with a premise that places a twist upon “good vs. evil.” In this 2005 version, the ethnic makeup of the correctional officers and staff is 100% white, muscle-bound, self-absorbed and egotistical sadistic males. Combine that dynamic with the completely unnecessary use of the “N” word in referring to the African American prison population and you have the makings of an assumption that the prisoners are the good guys.
Since there is no apparent moral message to this film, one would assume that comedic entertainment is the primary reason to pay the entrance price to this film, However, the movie’s attempts at “humor” are mostly based on sarcasm, criticism of others’ appearances and attempts to point out deformities and ignorance in others, plus sexual deviance, alcohol and drug abuse, and the moral corruptness of nearly every character. Visual cues in the opening scene introduce an undertone of sexuality and depravity with a constant barrage of plunging necklines on monochromatically tanned female characters of negligible intellect and near absent lines.
One female lead, “Lena” (Courtney Cox) appears briefly in the introduction with a few vapid lines, and is then nearly immediately dispatched, but not before taking the honor of being the first to utter an expletive. Her live-in boyfriend, and star of the movie, “Paul ‘Wrecking’ Crewe” (Adam Sandler) locks her into her palatial closet and then sets out to commit as many vehicular law infractions as possible within five minutes.
Springing from the posh and colorful world of the big city, Sandler’s already probationary life is plunged into the awfulness of the dusty Texas prison when he steals his girlfriend’s Bentley car and manages to smash it. Along the way he pokes fun at the appearance of a policeman, drives while intoxicated, and endangers the lives of hundreds during a high-speed chase. Sandler emerges without a scratch after a multiple car pileup in which the Bentley is hit by police cars from all directions.
During the movie’s 104 minutes, the producers manage to cram in over 125 swear words (although only one use of the “F” word). Although there is only one instance of the use of “Jesus” name in vain, the name of God (combined with various expletives) is peppered throughout the movie.
The prison bus for inmate transportation is an old beat-up vehicle, rather than the comfortable luxury accommodations the “guards” use in their trip to the televised football game held in a very large high school stadium. Oh, yes, the Federal Government “retrofitted” the high school arena with concertina wire. Accompanying the football players for both teams are their own cheerleading squads. The convict team cheerleaders are males dressed as females, using extremely suggestive poses and blatant talk of perverted sexual acts.
Violent behavior might be expected during a football game, but the movie has extreme beatings, with the guards repeatedly thrashing the poor inmates mercilessly. “Miraculously,” there are very few visible bruises or contusions apparent. There is one fatality, somewhat orchestrated by the staff of Allenville Prison, of course.
The one female Allenville State Penitentiary employee, played by Cloris Leachman, is dressed and coiffed as a stereotype of an advanced-aged lustful, if not vulgar, unnecessary employee. For some unexplained reason, a heavy-set, older man dressed in what may be best described as Kentucky-Derby-Colonel white suit, with straw hat appears in the movie as a companion to the Warden. His only function is as yet one more opportunity for Sandler to voice one-liner insults meant to bring laughter.
But therein lies the real root of the purpose of the entire 104 minutes. Besides being filled with profanity and laced with sexual overtones, there is one common thread lacing the whole non-story together: Sandler is a star because he can make silly voices, noises, and get away with making crude, cruel, and meaningless sarcastic observations in such a way that his fans believe he is delivering humor. In my opinion, the movie is trite, profane, lewd and highly inaccurate.
The Apostle Paul, perhaps the moral opposite of “Paul Crewes,” explained that followers of Christ must recognize the battle (or war) in the mind that continually rages. Paul encourages us to be a slave only to God’s law, not the law of sin. It is most appropriate, then, to recognize that this movie’s attempts at humor are based in a dark world of sin. No humor should come from calling someone hurtful names nor criticizing their appearance. Neither should we be about the business of promoting sexual perversion—even if only brought up as a joke. The sins that brought about the need for prisons in our nation ought not be ignored—only to celebrate the sinners (with the guards—who are supposed to be righteous—portrayed as anything but good). We must, as Paul writes, remember that God sent his own Son to take on the likeness of man, helping us to understand that we can through him live a righteous life, with our minds continually subject to God’s Laws. If perversion, sin, and degradation of our fellow man has become our method of entertainment, then we cannot call ourselves godly.
In my opinion, this movie carries no redeeming qualities, and should be avoided by Christians.Year of Release—2005 / USA opening: May 27, 2005