THE LONGEST YARD Happy Gilmore… with a football!
The Longest Yard
dirs. Segal
Opens Fri May 27
Various Theaters

Here's something annoying: You're at a party, and some jackass starts recreating Monty Python skits. He asks you to join in--but you don't, do you? You don't because a) Monty Python hasn't been funny in twenty years, and b) your impersonation of them not being funny is even less funny.

Scenario number two: Same party, and the jackass recreating Monty Python skits is former Monty Python jackass Eric Idle. Now do you join him? NO. Because a) Eric Idle is the least funny member of Monty Python and b) it doesn't change the fact that recreating these old sketches is pathetic.

Such is the central problem with this remake of the awesome Burt Reynolds flick, The Longest Yard. In the end, even the inclusion of Burt himself can't save it.

Taking over Burt's role is an increasingly tubby Adam Sandler playing ex-NFL quarterback (!) Paul Crewe. After a drunk driving escapade, Crewe is sent to a Texas penitentiary where a pigskin lovin' warden forces him to put together a team of inmates to take on his cruel semi-pro guards in a football game. Slowly, and with the help of an aging coach (Burt Reynolds), Crewe wins over the wary inmates, teaching them about teamwork, self-respect, and hitting their captors in the nuts.

Now, I totally understand some people don't give a shit about any film made before the Reagan administration, and for those individuals, I'd say go ahead and see Sandler's version of The Longest Yard--you'll love it. But for those who have seen the 1974 original starring Reynolds, you'll totally feel like you're in the middle of an annoying Monty Python party.

While not a word-for-word remake, it has all the markings of the original without any of the subtlety, darkness, or political context. In the original, much of the comedy sprang from the rampant inhuman cruelty of the penal system. But without that context, you'll find yourself riding shotgun in just another slightly amusing Adam Sandler vehicle with no particular destination in mind. But hey… at least Burt Reynolds is in the back seat (doing his best Eric Idle impersonation).