USA Today - 05/27/2005
"[M]ore smoothly crafted than the 1974 slapstick version....The new version has the zip of a 96-yard punt return..."
Director Peter Segal (50 FIRST DATES, ANGER MANAGEMENT) and comedian Adam Sandler are at it again in a fun remake of the 1974 classic, THE LONGEST YARD. In the role of Paul "Wrecking" Crewe, first immortalized by Burt Reynolds (who appears here as Nate Scarborough), Sandler plays an ex-football star whose career ended amidst allegations of point shaving. Fed up, he drunkenly steals his unfriendly wife's (an uncredited Courtney Cox) luxury car and drives it into a multi-car pileup. This lands Crewe in a cruel Texas state penitentiary. His only respite comes from Warden Hazen (James Cromwell) who wants Crewe to help lead his well-equipped prison-guard football team to the league championship. Crewe timorously agrees, suggesting the creation of an opposing team of convicts to the give the guards an easy tune-up before the season. To the ragtag inmates, this is the chance they've been waiting for, and they hustle to get their team together so they can exact some revenge on the harassing guards.
In THE LONGEST YARD, Sandler steps out of the spotlight he enjoyed in films like BILLY MADISON and HAPPY GILMORE and is instead content to let his sizable cast of costars shine in the comedic light. Both the guard and the convict teams are infused with solid contributions from a swath of entertaining personalities: ex-football stars Michael Irvin, Bill Romanowski and Brian Bosworth; pro wrestlers Bill Goldberg and "Stone-Cold" Steve Austin; ESPN anchors Chris Berman and Dan Patrick; and famed rapper Nelly. However, it is Chris Rock, as Crewe's friend Caretaker, whose scenes never fail to steal the show, providing some of the movie's most memorable laughs.