Andy Bockelman: Simply put, ‘Comeback’ is not good
October 27, 2007
Craig — The sports spoof “The Comebacks” may boast some all-star comedic talent, but almost every moment of the movie is worthy of the bench.
Lambeau Fields (David Koechner) has bombed out of every coaching gig he has ever attempted. When his old friend (Carl Weathers) gets him a job coaching football at the small Texas college Heartland State, Fields happily uproots his family to take the job. He finds out that the team known as the Comebacks is comprised mostly of losers who should never be allowed near a football field; from a cowardly lineman (George Back) to a pint-sized wannabe (Martin Spanjers), the squad does not have a chance to go anywhere, especially since its one good player (Jackie Long) thinks that the sport was designed specifically for him. Once Fields recruits some new talent, he has to teach these second-rate jocks how to meld together into a group of champions.
Koechner has been hilarious as supporting characters in movies like “Anchorman,” “Waiting:” and “The Dukes of Hazzard,” but also in heavier material such as “Thank You for Smoking.” Taking the lead role in this garbage may have seemed like a good idea at one point, but he will not be playing anymore main characters in the near future. Even more puzzling is how sports movie legend Weathers managed to get talked into this; how does he go from Apollo Creed to this schlock? Melora Hardin tries her best as Fields’ dedicated wife Barb, but is unfunny even when targeting such an obvious cliche as the neglected football widow. Matthew Lawrence plays quarterback Lance Truman, a good-natured guy who falls in love with Fields’ rebellious daughter (Brooke Nevin), despite the fact that she is more interested in (surprise, surprise) his egotistical rival, running back Long, in order to annoy her father. Most annoying is the use of Will Arnett, Dax Shepard, Andy Dick and more in throwaway cameos.
This parody is all over the place in what it makes fun of; “Remember the Titans” and “Varsity Blues” are obvious choices, but when it starts to skewer “Blue Crush,” you know something is wrong. Granted, some of these gags are worth a giggle, such as Koechner donning the hairstyles of Kurt Russell (“Miracle”) and Rip Torn (“Dodgeball”) for training sequences, but others go nowhere. A female placekicker (Noureen DeWulf) with Indian heritage is lifted directly out of “Bend It Like Beckham” for a miniscule amount of screen time, and a mentally handicapped assistant named iPod (Jermaine Williams) comes off as a very mean-spirited take on “Radio.” The one scene that gets any genuine laughs is an impromptu locker room rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” which is soon all but negated by more trash.
What is really ironic is that with a director named Tom Brady, one might expect this to be a decent sports flick. That certainly is not the case. Almost as mind-numbingly bad as “Date Movie” and “Epic Movie,” “The Comebacks” guarantees that nobody who sees it once will come back again.