The Replacements

Bomb Rating: 

This football movie is predictable pap for a fan base that's full of more morons than a Sylvia Browne lecture. First you have football fans, whose idea of a good time is sitting on the couch without moving for four hours. Then, of course, there are Keanu Reeves fans, whose idiocy is a foregone conclusion.

This movie takes the Occam's razor approach to comedy: The simplest joke is always preferred. First there's coach Jimmy McGinty's (Gene Hackman) plan to replace the striking football players, not with second-tier professionals, but with a group of oddballs that all just need a chance to redeem themselves. First and foremost is Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), who's best known for losing in the Sugar Bowl. Um, do you think he'll score the winning touchdown in a really important game? Does the Pope flush?

McGinty's first instruction to Falco is that he needs to be a leader. Naturally, the team is at each other's throats and doesn't play well. Um, do you think Falco will become a leader and that his team will rally around him at just the right moment? Then there's the love interest. Falco falls for the head of the cheerleading squad, Annabelle Farrell (Brooke Langton). Thank God she's the only woman Falco ever looks at because had there been any other possibilities, that would have just been too confusing. Then again, Annabelle tells Falco that she doesn't date players. OH MY GOD -- the tension!

Almost all of the film is non-stop stupidity. Hackman stands around giving speeches, but you don't see him coach a lick. During the final, big game, a couple of the regular players cross the picket line, which is supposed to be some big deal because they're playing Dallas, where all the players have crossed the line -- and Dallas is the defending champ. Are we supposed to think two players will make a difference? One of the players is the team's asshole quarterback, which means that McGinty tells Falco "it's all over" and Falco goes home. Uh, anybody heard of back-ups? Perhaps the filmmakers achieved their goal. Their movie has got all the entertainment value of replacement-player football.

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