The Replacements (2000)

(In theaters, August 2000) A surprise: As an underdog sports comedy, it offers nearly nothing we haven’t seen before, from the oh-so-wacky characters to the last-game photofinish ending. The film grinds to a halt as soon as it tries to build some romance between (cliché alert!) the quarterback and the head cheerleader, but fortunately, the rest is so enjoyable that it doesn’t really matter. The heart of the film is in the gonzo football stunts, which are very enjoyable even to a neophyte of the sport. All is wrapped in a competently-edited (take note, Hollywood sports directors!) package, and if it’s not as good a film as its contemporary Any Given Sunday, it’s certainly far more accessible. Despite everything, it works, and the result is pretty good.

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