THE LONGEST YARD
starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, James Cromwell, Nelly
screenplay by Sheldon Turner, based on the screenplay by Tracy Keenan Wynn
directed by Peter Segal
screenplay by Mark Burton & Billy Frolick and Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath
directed by Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath
by Walter Chaw Chris Rock seems like a smart dude. His stand-up is sharp and perceptive and his now-defunct pay-cable talk show broke some ice in the traditionally chilly national race conversation. So know that I say this respecting Rock's abilities in certain areas: Chris Rock is not now, nor will he ever be, a viable presence in film. He has no charisma that translates to the silver screen, none of that "it" factor that draws the eye to him, and when he's forced to follow a script, whether he's written it or not, he sounds desperate and pinched, as though he were being pulled through a garden hose. He joins giants like Richard Pryor in that no matter what you thought of Stir Crazy, it's a far cry from his seminal work on stage. That Chris Rock is now in two major motion pictures seeing release on the same day both bolsters the suspicion that Rock is a smart dude and provides two new examples of Rock not only not possessing that movie star quality, but also lacking the potential to be movie star material. With the inevitable success of these films, however (none of which will have anything to do with Rock), put your money on the man making a few more sad attempts at headlining a picture before Hollywood discovers what most of us already know.