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Adam Sandler’s latest starrer, THE LONGEST YARD ($30) is a rather enjoyable reworking of Burt Reynolds’ minor sports movie classic from three decades earlier. Of course, with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in the film’s two primary roles, this version of the story tends to play up the comedic aspects more than its predecessor. This reviewer had a good time while watching the film, although I doubt this take on THE LONGEST YARD will have the staying power of the original. In THE LONGEST YARD, Adam Sandler portrays disgraced NFL quarterback Paul Crewe, who was tossed out of the league on a racketeering charge. Hitting rock bottom as a trophy boyfriend, Paul absconds with his girlfriend’s Bentley during a party and winds up wrecking it in a collision with a number of police vehicles, which is broadcast live, via a news helicopter.

In violation of his probation, Paul is sentenced to three years in a Texas prison, where Warden Hazen (James Cromwell) has pulled more than a few strings to get the former professional athlete assigned. Upon his arrival at the prison, Paul finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place, as the warden wants the former football player to coach his team of prison guards, while the guards themselves plan to make Paul’s existence a living hell should the inmate come anywhere near their team. Eventually, Paul comes up with a compromise that satisfies both sides enough to keep him alive- Paul suggests allowing the guards to play a "tune up" game versus a team made up of prisoners. Recruiting and training the prison team provides opportunities for much of the film’s comedy, as well as setting up the feel good section of the film, as the audience begins rooting for the underdogs in their big game against the sadistic prison guards. The cast of THE LONGEST YARD also features Burt Reynolds, Walter Williamson, Michael Irvin, Nelly, Nicholas Turturro, Cloris Leachman, William Fichtner, Bill Romanowski, Kevin Nash, Steve Austin, Brian Bosworth, Michael Papajohn, Brandon Molale, James Cromwell, Rob Schneider and an uncredited Courteney Cox.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made THE LONGEST YARD available on DVD in a 2.35:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is a pretty nice looking transfer, nothing spectacular, but solid, without significant flaws. The image is generally sharp and provides good definition. Some shots are crisper than others, but it all holds up quite well. Colors are reasonably bright, produce a better than natural level of saturation, plus appealing flesh tones. Blacks are accurate, whites are stable and the contrast is smooth. The film elements from which THE LONGEST YARD has been transferred are free from defects. Digital compression artifacts are never a cause for concern.

THE LONGEST YARD comes with a kicking Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Aggressively mixed, the track makes the most of the discrete channels for the film’s initial car chase, as well as the hard-hitting football sequences, and even the musical rocks across the entire soundstage. Fidelity is great, with totally convincing sound effects and a pulsing musical presence. Dialogue is clean and easy to understand. The potent bass channel is highly effective throughout. English and French Dolby Surround tracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some fairly nice supplemental features. First Down And 25 To Life is a twenty-minute look behind-the-scenes; it’s a bit fluffy, but on par with most programs of this type. The Care And Feeding Of Pro Athletes clocks in at five minutes and looks at the difficulties faced by the catering service on this particular shoot. Lights, Camera, Touchdown! also runs five minutes and looks at how the film’s football sequences were executed. Extra Points offers a breakdown of some of the film’s visual effects shots. Also included are a series of Deleted Scenes that come complete with optional director’s commentary. A Music Video for Nelly’s Errtime, a musical montage entitled Here Comes the Boom and a Fumbles And Stumbles blooper reel close out the supplements.

2005’s THE LONGEST YARD is a funny remake that is certainly enjoyable while one watches it, although it doesn’t make too lasting an impression. Paramount’s looks just fine and sounds even better. If you are an Adam Sandler fan, you’ll want to spend an evening tackling THE LONGEST YARD.



The Longest Yard (Widescreen Edition) (2005)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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