If there was ever a film genre that needed to be spoofed, it’s the uplifting sports genre, arguably the most clichéd, schmaltzy, overwrought and seemingly ubiquitous genre in all the land. Too bad Tom Brady, the director of The Hot Chick (2002), as well as a whopping six writers—mostly with television credits, or worse, films like Not Another Teen Movie (2001) under their belt—decided to be the ones who needed to do this. When a man whose only directorial credit is a movie about Rob Schneider becoming a girl decides he wants to make fun of other people’s movies, you know you’re in trouble.
My immediate reaction when I first saw the trailer for The Comebacks was curiosity over why it wasn’t called Sports Movie, à la Date Movie (2006) and this year’s Epic Movie, since they’re cut from exactly the same cloth. That’s until I found out the horrific truth that this movie wasn’t being made by the same kind of people. Instead, someone decided they would rip off some of the most puerile and idiotic movies this side of Adam Sandler et al.
It would be one thing if Brady and friends had improved on the formula, did the unthinkable and made an actual funny comedy. But instead it’s the same parade of shots to the groin and lame pop-culture references. To give it its due, The Comebacks is better than Epic Movie, but that’s really like telling someone with gonorrhea that at least they don’t have syphilis.
The film stars David Koechner (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby), who’s sort of the poor man’s Will Ferrell. He should really be commended, however, for showing his range, since he’s playing just a normal moron as opposed to the usual redneck mouth breathers he normally plays. Koechner plays Coach Lambeau Fields (that pun represents the most cerebral of the film’s humor), a lifelong loser who gets offered a coaching job at a small-time college football program and views it as his last shot at glory. From here, there’s the usual paper-thin plot that’s supposed to be a framework for the hilarity to be built upon, with spoofs of such films as far ranging as Radio (do these people really think they have room to make fun of people with mental handicaps?) to Field of Dreams—except, in case you didn’t notice already, there isn’t a single solitary bit that’s funny. The “throw enough against the wall and something’s bound to stick” approach only really works if you throw something different against the wall. Instead, we get a chorus line of lame slapstick, cameos by only the finest athletes in dire need of a paycheck—like Dennis Rodman and Lawrence Taylor—followed by a gag referencing a sports movie. Rinse and repeat.
There is no reason for any person to ever see this movie. There’s no reason to see it in a theater, rent it or buy it when it eventually meets its fate in the $5 dump bin at Wal-Mart. Please, don’t let me have watched this movie in vain. Rated PG-13 on appeal for crude and sexual content throughout and some drug material.