The Longest Yard
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film pushes the edges of the PG-13 rating. It features repeated crude language (including one "f--k" and several uses of the "N" word), frequent violence on and off the football field, including one character burning to death in an explosion, beatings and hard tackles, prison guards slamming their charges' heads and crotches with batons, and inmates assaulting each other. Prisoners are locked in a "hot box" as punishment. Characters drink, smoke, take steroids, and are extremely disrespectful to authorities (cops and prison officials who, according to this film, deserve disrespect). In addition, the movie includes sexual imagery (a woman's cleavage, a woman in her underwear being spanked, gaudy transvestite cheerleaders, implied homosexual activity), and gendered and raced stereotypes serving as "jokes" (an older woman in an ugly wig, a guard who takes estrogen unknowingly and starts behaving like "a girl," and hyper-aggressive black, Latino, and Indian inmates).
What's the story?
In this remake, frustrated former NFL quarterback Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) lands in a desolate Texas prison following a particularly rowdy joyride. At prison, Paul is assigned by the selfish, political-career-minded warden (James Cromwell) to assemble a cons' team to play and lose to the big-necked guards' team. The guards' abuses of inmates range from beatings to harassment. Paul manages the team with the help of Caretaker (Chris Rock) and an old-timer, Nate (Burt Reynolds); their players are assigned reductive "traits": Brucie (Nicholas Turturro) is demented; receiver Deacon Moss (former NFL star Michael Irvin) is much-respected; the Beast (K-1 Kickboxer Bob Sapp) is ferocious; Torres (Lobo Sebastian) always smokes cigarettes; Turley (Dalip Singh) is a giant whose every utterance is subtitled.
Is it any good?
What were they thinking? This movie has almost nothing to recommend it. Sandler -- unflappable, mildly self-mocking, and amusingly quizzical as always -- squeezes awkwardly into an old Burt Reynolds role. Though he's beaten repeatedly and endures something of a moral dilemma (the film is a play-by-play copy of the 1974 version), Sandler maintains his signature laidbackness, playing straight man while all around him "bring the pain."
The unoriginal gags include transvestite cheerleaders (for instance, Tracy Morgan as Ms. Tucker); the warden's aging secretary (Cloris Leachman), who has a crush on Paul based on the underwear ads he made as a superstar athlete); and the warden's political advisor looks like Colonel Sanders.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about drugs, steroids, and what it takes to bond in friendship. Families can also discuss the film's depiction of a corrupt prison system and how it sets up the inmates as heroes. What is the appeal of humor based on physical and verbal abuse of characters who are "different" in some way?