When Stuart and I first set up hoopla.nu, he had this mad idea that we should have two rating schemes: one a critical rating, and another he called the ‘hoopla factor’ that would represent our enjoyment alone, outside of the film’s critical worth. Thank God he did, as it would be nearly impossible to review this film without it…
The Longest Yard is not a very good film. My last review was for the superlative 12 Angry Men, and alongside that, this is barely worthy of the name ‘film’. And yet, I actually kinda enjoyed it.
Not for Adam Sandler in his restrained, almost depressed-to-be-doing-this mien. Not for Chris Rock, and his usual over-the-top-black-guy-against-the-world show. In the end, the simple charm of a movie, written to be stupid and appealing to anyone with an interest in ridiculous sentiment and sports, well, it won me over.
Beginning with gratuitous shots of surgically enhanced breasts, and continuing through jokes about prison homosexuality, giving a tough muscle man oestrogen tablets to make him sensitive, and the always funny subtitles-for-a-guy-speaking-English routine, we aren’t taken anywhere new. In fact, we cover so much familiar ground, it is unsurprising to see Sandler’s favourite chums in their traditional cameo appearances. For this is much like any other of Sandler’s films, excepting the execrable Punch Drunk Love. But, sometimes there is comfort in familiarity.
Reynolds is actually amusing at times, and Sandler and Rock work surprisingly well together – maybe as Sandler’s unusually quiet presence in this film didn’t detract from Rock’s typically loud? Had they both been at the top of their games, there may have been a major clash.
I did find myself laughing, and while I’d like to think myself above a lot of this, I laughed at times a lot of others laughed, so maybe I’m not. Certainly, much of this is objectively offensive. And manipulative. Homophobic. Racist. Clichéd. There isn’t much here of real value.
But I did enjoy it.Rating: