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November 23rd, 2006:
Champ Fields (David Koechner
) is known as the unluckiest coach in the history of sports. After being forced into an early retirement, he’s given one last shot at greatness. Unfortunately, it’s not going to come easy because Champ is hired to coach a talent less and slightly deranged college football team with a laughable roster and an even worse record. Armed with questionable morals, and weak players, Champ vows to turn things around with this team of ragtag recruits and make the impossible happen – lead them to at least a single victory.What to Expect:
The Comebacks represents yet another “Saturday Night Live” alumni project and it has not even been a year since the last similarly themed endeavor, The Benchwarmers
, hit theaters. On the surface, it almost feels like a direct to video SNL feature since the biggest SNL alumnus the filmmakers have been able to get is single-year veteran David Koechner. Those that have actually heard of him are probably in the minority, but personally I have always found him to be one of the funniest cast members on the long-running television show. I’ve always enjoyed his obscure take on the humor, even if his stint was relatively brief and prevented the audiences from warming up to him. His first starring role is way overdue after years of uproarious bit roles in films like Dirty Work, Anchorman: The Legend or Ron Burgundy, The Dukes of Hazzard, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
. His nearly endless list of credits contains no real memorable highlights, but perhaps this movie will finally allow him to make that long deserved impact. Article continues below
Regardless of my feelings about Koechner, his performance will largely depend on the screenplay and I’m honestly afraid that he will have little to work with. Eight writers have been credited for contributing to The Comebacks and not one of them has done anything remotely successful in the past. Two of them, John Aboud and Michael Colton, make frequent appearances on VH1’s various pop culture series like “I Love the 80s” or “Best Week Ever,” making them the most famous of the bunch. While Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson have done some writing for the MTV Movie Awards in the past, they do have the most notable credit of all the scribes – Not Another Teen Movie. Finally, Tom Brady
(not the football quarterback), the director of The Hot Chick and the writer of The Animal, has been assigned to helm the project behind the camera. Interestingly, he is also attached to write and direct the somewhat comical television show adaptation, Welcome Back, Kotter. As a group, I feel like these guys are going to be able to inject a few solid gags and wisecracks into The Comebacks, but to have them shape it into a pointed and well-crafted comedy may be asking for too much.
Here’s the type of humor we can expect. Fields is a college football coach with the worst record in the history of the sport and yet his first name is Champ. An overabundance of this type of dumb wit usually fails miserably, but once in a while, if the mood is just right, it can cause me to chuckle a little. The terribly obnoxious part of the story here is that Champ is seeking redemption and of course he will have to overcome dreadful odds just to do it. Although these types of comedies typically parody other inspirational sports movies, in the end they also fall victim to the same conventions so I would bet that Champ will eventually redeem himself… And get the girl too.
The Comebacks may seem like a funny idea but if you’re seeking originality, look somewhere else. Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, and The Benchwarmers already covered hockey, golf, football, and baseball, which left basketball as the only unused sport left to parody. However, because football seems to be the most popular and exciting choice cinematically, whether for a serious story or a comedy
, it only seems natural to return to milk it for all it is worth. In the end, it’s hardly relevant which one was picked as you can pretty much expect a retread of the same childish humor and behavior. The Comebacks will feature the same outrageous and frequently stupid characters at the core, surrounded by a normal world where they do not belong. The contrast will pretty much generate all of the humor. Lately, these types of comedies have been declining in quality as they have abandoned any notion of reality and have gone for gags so outlandish that the results feel tired and numb. I’m concerned that The Comebacks will celebrate excessive stupidity rather than just simply laugh at it.In Conclusion:
I always leave room for these types of juvenile comedies because the child inside of me still loves Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, but I expect less and less each time a new, but familiar take on the genre appears. Truthfully, Tom Brady has at least assembled a few interesting actors for the flick. DJ Qualls
(Road Trip, The New Guy) is almost the quintessential ragtag misfit when it comes to these types of comedies. Despite a much longer SNL career, Chris Parnell
may actually be less famous than Koechner, but he is just as funny. Finally, what would a movie like this be without a couple of forgotten stars from days long gone? Matthew Lawrence
and Carl Weathers
are two juicy choices. Weathers’ one-handed Chubbs from Happy Gilmore is exactly the type of character that The Comebacks could benefit from. There is no major headliner of Adam Sandler
’s caliber here, which may benefit the film, but hurt its box-office receipts. Hopefully, the amusing cast can overcome the dozens of weak points that the script is likely to contain.Similar Titles: The Benchwarmers
, The Waterboy
, Major League