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Quite a long shot

The Longest Yard

Director: Peter Segal

Cast: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds, James Cromwell

They must be scraping the bottom of the creative barrel, down Hollywood Boulevard way. Otherwise, why inflict yet another remake of a forgettable 1974 film of the same title, "The Longest Yard," whose only bone-crunching ploy was a long-drawn-out football game between convicts and their keepers in an American prison?

Four years ago, they remade it under a different title, "Mean Machine," and now they have persuaded the lead actor of the 1970s original (Reynolds) to don prison garb once more and play mentor to the guy who now essays his role: Adam Sandler.

Sandler keeps his patented lewd humour somewhat under check (but not nearly enough).

He plays Paul Crewe, an alcoholic former National Football League champ who was thrown out for cheating and is in prison for drunken driving.

The warden (Cromwell) persuades him to put together a team of convicts to take on one consisting of their minders. Comedian Chris Rock is one of the few inmates who befriends Crewe. With his help and that of another ex-footballer-convict Scarborough (Reynolds) as coach, the scene is set for a climactic match that takes up the last third of the match.

Will anyone care?

Seeing that this is American style football, not your more civilised variety played here, the chances are remote. But Sandler has his devout fans and they won't be disappointed.

ANAND PARTHASARATHY

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