Replacements, The
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -2 1/2

Its the middle of the football season and the NFL is paralyzed by a players strike. Washington Sentinels owner, Edward ONeil (Jack Warden) calls on his longtime friend, retired coach Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman) to come up with a whole new replacement team. And what a motley crew McGinty dredges up! Falco (Keanu Reeves), a star college quarterback remembered for his catastrophic loss in a Sugar Bowl game; Nigel Gruff (Rhys Ifans), a chain-smoking bartender and former Welsh soccer star; and a Sumo wrestler are a few of his choice picks. The only thing the players share is their love of football. In their first game, the quarterback is knocked out by his own team; the Sumo wrestler throws up on the field; and a fight breaks out among the rest of the team. What starts out as a disaster, turns into a crowd-pleasing sports spectacle. THE REPLACEMENTS will tickle the funny bone of many wannabe players and fans.

How this movie avoided an R-rating is a mystery. Constant on-field fighting is often vicious and out of control. A barroom brawl, violent confrontations as the new recruits cross strike lines, and gunshots shattering car windows also seem excessive and gratuitous. Add to that, exotic dancers, recruited as replacement cheerleaders, performing suggestive dances in revealing costumes. In fact, the camera focuses on the cheerleaders lewd movements almost as much as on the players. And continuous rough language, including 30 obscenities, is particularly excessive for a PG-13 rating. Still, beneath the crude and lewd images lie a few worthwhile messages. Coach McGinty believes in his players even though others consider them losers. Falco earns respect and loyalty with his willingness to share the credit for victories and take the blame for mistakes. Most team members are playing out dreams of being in the big league, knowing they will soon go back to their own nondescript worlds. But for the moment, its a second chance to prove themselves. Thats what THE REPLACEMENTS is all about. Too bad foul words, excessive violence and lewd cheerleaders werent replaced as well.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Warner Bros., 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

Crude Language: Many (30) times Mild 11, moderate 19
Obscene Language: Many (30) times - F-word 1, s-word 19, other 10
Profanity: Few (4) times Regular 3 (GD 1, J 1, JC 1), exclamatory 1
Violence: Many times Moderate and severe (vicious on-field fighting with painful cuts, bruises and hits to head; barroom brawl with glass shattered on head, fist fighting, property destruction; gunshots break car windows and threaten strikers)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None; Near Nudity - Many times (players in locker room barely covered, man in briefs, cheerleaders in brief outfits)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Many times (cheerleaders perform suggestive movements; man grabs crotch; crude sexual remarks)
Drug Abuse: Many times (beer and alcohol drinking; chain smoker)
Other: Coach restores teams self-esteem, treats players with respect; players learn what teamwork can accomplish
Running Time: 114 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and sports fans

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