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Movie Review: The Comebacks – No Repeat Viewers Here

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This inspirational sports spoof mainly focuses on football flicks like Gridiron Gang, Rudy, and Invincible. The source material inspired many audiences, but this comedy debacle from director Tom Brady will only inspire audiences to leave the theater.

David Koechner (Anchorman) plays Coach Lambeau Fields, who arrives at Heartland University after several unsuccessful tenures in various sports. Audiences who haven’t seen many football movies in the last 20 years probably won’t get most of the references. “We’re playing Friday Night Lights next,” says Coach. Other sports movies – Dodgeball, Bend It Like Beckham, Stick It, Miracle, Drumline, Blue Crush, and Field of Dreams fill up the rest of the weak story. Screenwriters even throw in a “Don’t Stop Believin'” music video and some montages.

Melora Hardin (The Office) plays the coach’s wife, Barb. The Fields’ daughter, Michelle, played by Brooke Nevin, is the troubled teen. Matthew Lawrence plays star quarterback Lance Truman who, predictably, has an interest in Michelle. Other players include the hot shot Trotter, Buddy Boy, Aseel Tare (say the first name fast) and female kicker Miss Featherfoot (first name not appropriate), played by rising star beauty Noureen DeWulf. Carl Weathers (Rocky, Predator) has a very limited role as coach’s colleague Freddie Wiseman, which increases a bit with narration duties.

The largest hope for laughs, Will Arnett (Blades of Glory), only appears as a local mailman in a limited, background role. Impersonator extraordinaire Frank Caliendo (Mad TV, NFL on FOX) announces a game as Chip Imitation while comedian Andy Dick gets a laugh as a referee. Most comedy belts out ‘lame duck’ jokes like the trophies visual gag (with no payoff) and the baffling “no loading zone” dialogue joke (most audiences won‘t even catch it).

Even the high profile sports star cameos can’t save this comedy, which contains a few successful jokes (the spinning players get hit, the violin, etc.). A locker room fight yields some clever one liners, but the overall attitude of the stars and producers assume success where none exists. Might have been fun making it, but this forgettable movie just doesn’t produce enough good laughs. The non-stop advertisements and racial jokes (mainly from a rival coach played by comedian Finesse Mitchell) tire quickly. Characters point out offensive references and then continue to perpetuate them (“plain folk” references, the American Values halftime show, etc.)

Each coach joins the action in the ending “Toilet Bowl”, but it’s way too late. Hopefully there will be no more installments at “Sequel University”. Check out the real inspirational football films on home video like Facing the Giants and Remember the Titans instead. Not recommended and rated PG-13 for almost non-stop sexual content/references (even an incest reference), crude humor, and some drug material.

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