The Comebacks

2007, Movie, PG-13, 84 mins


Though funny in small doses, RON BURGANDY co-star David Koechner's thin comedic talents aren't enough to carry this tiresome spoof of popular sports movies, from the forgotten RADIO and FREEDOM to the popular INVINCIBLE, REMEMBER THE TITANS and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.

Coach Lambeau Fields (Koechner) is legendary not because he's good at what he does, but because everyone agrees he's the single worst coach the sports world has ever known. Having coached the Boston Red Sox to their devastating 1886 World Series and instigated Zinedine Zidane's infamous head-butt during the 2006 World Cup, Coach Fields is reduced to masturbating Seabiscuit's descendents for a living. Then he's recruited by old friend Kenny Wiseman (Carl Weathers) to coach Heartland State University's Comebacks, Plainfolk, Texas's failing college football team. Fields' wife, Barb (Melora Hardin), worries that if he returns to coaching he'll again neglect his family, but Coach Fields ignores her (ha ha) and takes the job. He begins by inexplicably cutting the team's three top players, then taking stock of what he has left to work with: Trotter (Jackie Long), an egotistical gridiron superstar who arrives on the field in a stretch Hummer and Fields' own rambunctious gymnast daughter, Michelle (Brooke Nevin), in the back; obese crybaby Buddy Boy (George Back); wealthy cholo-wannabe Jorge Juanson, nee George Johnson (Jesse Garcia); and MVP Aseel Tare (Robert Ri'chard), whom Fields jinxes by insistently pronouncing his name exactly like "ACL tear" -- the dreaded sports injury. And then there's Fields' mentally challenged assistant, iPod (Jermaine Williams), who rides around in a shopping cart and humps the Coach's leg like a dog. Fields finds a kicker in the school's Indian-American soccer star, Jizminder Featherfoot (Noureen DeWulf), and a promising quarterback in ace pitcher Lance Truman (Matthew Lawrence), who has an unfortunate tendency to fumble the ball under pressure. Disgusted by their good grades, Coach Fields makes them sign a contract promising they'll start acting like real players by failing their classes and getting embroiled in sexual harassment suits. The season gets off to a predictably abysmal start, and only turns around when the team from Friday Night Lights, too caught up in their drama to actually show up, forfeit the game. Next stop: The championship game at the Toilet Bowl.

Inspirational sports movies are so filled with cliches and conventions that it's a bore to spoof them, but that's not why Tom Brady's supposed comedy is so lame. Like the low-end entries in the recent rash of SCARY MOVIE-style satires (DATE MOVIE, EPIC MOVIE), the "jokes" are simply random allusions to movies and TV shows that don’t connect to anything other than the sources they're referencing. Perhaps somewhere in here there's the germ of a funny movie about a hapless, hopeless coach, but instead of we're treated to endless scenes of women getting slammed, thrown and clothes lined, while men's genitals are grabbed, groped, stroked and tasered. It's all just as painful as it sounds. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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