I got a few good laughs out of the sports spoof “The Comebacks,” but not nearly enough to make it a worthwhile investment of 84 minutes. I like that one of the football players is named ACL Tear (pronounced “Aseel Taree”), and that the parody of Cuba Gooding Jr.’s “Radio” character is shamelessly retarded in a very un-P.C. way.
And … wow, that’s about it. Huh. I thought there were more.
The genre of inspiring sports movies is ripe with parody possibilities, especially given how similar many of them are to one another, with the same types of characters, conflicts, and cliches. But “The Comebacks,” while purporting to be an all-inclusive spoof of these movies, doesn’t take advantage of the abundant possibilities. Instead, it’s endless gay innuendo jokes, references to breasts, and simple-minded visual puns (as when a commentator says a player is “on fire,” and we cut to a shot of the player running down the field, literally on fire).
The story — do you care about the story? Ugh, all right. Well, the main character is Coach Fields (David Koechner), a lousy all-sports coach who we’re told was responsible for distracting Bill Buckner during the infamous 1986 World Series and for causing Zidane to head-butt that guy during whatever soccer game that was. He gets a job as head football coach at Heartland State University in Plainfolk, Texas, where he’s charged with reversing the pitiful team’s fortunes. The team is actually called the Comebacks. Their mascot is an oil derrick, which in the logo is made to look particularly phallic, har har.
Coach’s daughter, Michelle (Brooke Nevin), dates the showboating running back Trotter (Jackie Long), while the all-American QB Lance Truman (Matthew Lawrence) pines for her. A nerdy weakling player (Martin Spanjers) yearns to get some game time and makes homoerotic double-entendre while he waits. The giant beast of a player (George Back) turns out to be really sweet and wimpy.
Like so many of these things, the screenplay is a barely coherent mishmash of random, throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks jokes, with a “story” attributed to four men and the actual script by two others. Doing the math, it would appear that each of the six men involved in the writing of this film contributed an average of 27,473 groin-centric gags.
The director is named Tom Brady, which is also the name of a famous NFL player, which I guess is like a built-in pun for the movie’s poster. Brady’s only previous film was the Rob Schneider vehicle “The Hot Chick.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the football player Tom Brady is actually a better filmmaker than the filmmaker Tom Brady. At the very least, having seen quarterback Tom Brady host “Saturday Night Live” a few years ago, I know he’s better at recognizing comedy when he sees it.
D+ (1 hr., 24 min.; )