The Replacements (2000) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for some crude sexual humor and language
Running Time: 118 min.
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Brooke Langton, Orlando Jones, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love, Rhys Ifans, Michael 'Bear" Taliferro, Ace Yonamine, Troy Winbush, Michael Jace, David Denman, Keith David, Jack Warden, John Madden, Pat Summerall
Director: Howard Deutch
Screenplay: Vince McKewin
Review published August 12, 2000
The players of professional football go on strike with four weeks to go in the season and the owners decide to call in replacement players to finish out the year. Gene Hackman (Under Suspicion, Enemy of the State) plays the coach of one of the teams, and he assembles a ragtag group, including a washed up superstar college QB (Reeves, The Matrix), an ex-con RB (Jace, Cradle 2 the Grave), and a bunch of others who have lots of raw talent but not the ability to have made it pro. They have to win three of the next four games to make it to the playoffs.
The Replacements is a predicable comedy with little new to offer, but I do have a bit of a soft spot for these kinds of eccentric ensemble sports movies (Major League comes to mind). It's always fun to watch, even if it isn't what one might call great, and it's definitely entertaining enough for football fans who aren't looking for anything other than some fun escapism.
The cast is likeable, with Hackman and Jack Warden (While You Were Sleeping) giving relatively good performances despite some occasionally trite dialogue. Keanu Reeves and Orlando Jones (Liberty Heights, Bedazzled) aren't as annoying as you'd expect since they don't dominate screen time. Terrific cinematography by Tak Fujimoto (The Sixth Sense, Devil in a Blue Dress) and a great score by John Debney (End of Days, Dick), along with solid use of popular music all enhance the look and feel of real football. Cartoonish and hokey, but likeable all the same.
©2000 Vince Leo