“The Replacements” is a typical sports comedy. It is full of clichéd characters, stupid humor, and zany antics. It also offers an much more unique storyline than you would expect from a sports comedy. The story revolves around a players strike that forces NFL teams to fill their rosters with replacement players. This is the perfect set-up to realistically incorporate quirky characters in a professional sports setting. Keanu Reeves is generally hit or miss because his “Bill and Ted” way of speaking either works for a character or doesn’t. This is a great role for him as a combination of a jock and a likeable everyman. The football team is made up of an interesting crew. You’ve got Neo, Roy from “The Office,” that old 7-Up spokesman, and the director of “Elf” and “Iron Man” (Reeves, David Denman, Orlando Jones, and Jon Favreau). I love any appearance by Gailard Sartain and Gene Hackman has a few opportunities to show his acting chops amidst the chaotic comedy. I don’t love the excessive shots of the stripper-cheerleaders. There are way too many shots of them, as in between every single play. The running gag isn’t funny and just serves as a consistent disruption to the flow of the game. This may be a sports comedy but at its core, it is still a football movie. I was glad to see that John Madden and Pat Summerall were utilized as significant characters instead of disappearing after a brief cameo. The film preserves the iconic style of Madden, even if it is just in a goofball comedy. “The Replacements” isn’t worthy of any Oscars but it is sure to please sports fans and comedy fans alike.
[Pictured: It doesn't get much quirkier than these characters!]