2007, PG-13, 84 min. Directed by Tom Brady. Starring David Koechner, Carl Weathers, Melora Hardin, Matt Lawrence, Brooke Nevin, Nick Searcy, George Back, Noureen DeWulf, Jesse Garcia.
REVIEWED By Josh Rosenblatt, Fri., Oct. 26, 2007
Ten years from now, when The Comebacks has long since been forgotten by anyone who happened to stumble into the wrong theatre, a few film historians with nothing better to do will still speak about a movie they once saw that, for one brief scene, managed to be a parody of a parody. Now, the fact that The Comebacks makes fun of another sports parody, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, doesn’t make it a good movie, but it does say something about the pilfering, postmodern, post-ironic age of cinema we live in. The film, like so many other adolescent subcomedies of its kind – Date Movie, Scary Movie, Swedish Existential Arthouse Movie, etc. – is so far from novel it almost makes you think there must be some philosophical basis for such blatantly commerce-motivated referentiality. Then you realize that two of the minds responsible for the unforgivable sitcoms Dharma & Greg and Yes, Dear wrote the thing and conclude that there wasn’t much thinking involved at all. The film follows Lambeau Fields (Koechner), a football coach with an unblemished record of failure who comes out of retirement to lead a group of lovable losers (the fat guy, the geek, the beautiful girl, the star quarterback with the drunken, disillusioned father) to glory. Along the way, it tries to skewer Field of Dreams, Miracle, Remember the Titans, and every other sports film made in the last 20 years (with extra cleavage and excrement humor thrown in for effect). It’s too bad the filmmakers didn’t have a longer view of film history, though; maybe their jokes would have been more interesting if they’d been aimed at, say, Somebody Up There Likes Me or The Pride of the Yankees. They could have had Gary Cooper giving his famous farewell address at Yankee Stadium – “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth” – and then dropped a bowling ball on his crotch. You know: comedy.