Off-Color Jokes and Perversion Mark "The Longest Yard"
- Thursday, May 26, 2005
People, please. Almost 40 percent of the United States is comprised of Southerners, and more U.S. presidents have come from this region than from any other. Besides, I’m getting a little sick of these clichéd, below-the-belt jabs about how stupid and backwards we all are. There are lots of things to joke about, when it comes to Southerners, so can we get some new material?
Oh, but if Southern stereotypes were the only ones in this film. We also have the evil guards (every last one of them), the large, illiterate black man, the wisecracking black man, the grunting native American, the big fat guy (with repeated shots of his belly – oh, how hilarious), a sex-starved elderly lady and a host of gay men who cross-dress and shout crude innuendo. Also, the inmates as well as the prison setting have little connection with reality. Sadly, these farfetched cinematic clichés form the bedrock of the film’s characterization, which is not only weak but frankly, insulting.
To make matters worse, we never hear anything personal about the men (including why they are incarcerated), so we never bond with them. Thus, we really don’t care whether they win or lose. Moreover, Crewe’s decision about the game – which is supposed to inject him with some character – is far too little and late to make a difference. Rock wisecracks his way through the film, but his jokes (about O.J. and Forrest Gump, for example) are pathetically stale. Courtney Cox does a decent job – with all five minutes of her role. I should feel sorry for Cloris Leachman (in Bernadette Peters’ role – another change from serious to slapstick), but she’s far too ridiculous for pity. And, even with multiple facelifts, Reynolds just seems old and tired.
The biggest problem is that neither the screenwriter nor director Peter Segal (“50 First Dates”) seem to be able to decide what kind of film this is. Is it an Adam Sandler sex & potty comedy, or is it a serious film? With some 150 obscenities, countless sexual references (mostly homosexual) and two pornographic videos (one heterosexual, one homosexual) thrown in, it’s obviously a sex comedy – and mostly a gay sex comedy. However, the bizarre addition of a few serious scenes – like the jarring death of an important character – knock even the humor off kilter. Either way, it’s the most foul, violent and perverted PG-13 film I have ever seen in my life. And that’s saying something. Wake up, Motion Picture Association of America – and get a decent rating system.
There’s no real message here, except perhaps some buried, misguided sentiment about loyalty and the redemptive power of sports (honor among thieves, perhaps?). Oh, and let’s not forget the eponymous placement ads – for ESPN, Kettle One Vodka, McDonalds, you name it – which pollute the film even further. Thus, the only thing I can recommend about “The Longest Yard” is to run a mile in the other direction.
AUDIENCE: Adults only
- Drugs/Alcohol Content: Heavy. Lots of drinking at a party, including drunk driver who sips from open container then offers beer to police officers; drinking by inmates in several scenes and several references to drugs, including one character who offers to get another “weed, meth or coke – whatever you want.” Several scenes with cigarettes.
- Language/Profanity: Extreme. Approximately 150 obscenities, including one f-word and four n-words; and four profanities (“GD”).
- Sexual Content/Nudity: Extreme. Multiple jokes/innuendoes about sex, sodomy, strippers, pornography and genitalia (including crude names for male genitalia); multiple jokes/innuendoes and portrayals of homosexuality, including a video where one man, dressed as a woman, seduces another and falls to floor in a passionate embrace (seen behind a curtain); elderly woman makes suggestive comments about male inmate, then is later seen in her underwear posing crudely after apparently engaging in sex with the inmate;
- Violence: Heavy. Car chase, multiple car pile-up (crash); prison guard brutality including multiple vicious beatings; prison brutality among inmates including violent explosion that kills one.
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