Review: The Replacements (2000)

Director: Howard Deutch
Screenwriter: Vince McKewin
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Orlando Jones, Brooke Langton, Rhys Ifans
Genres: Comedy, Sports
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some crude sexual humor and language
Best Line: “Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever.”
Release Dates: 8/11/00 (Theatres); 3/4/09 (Disc/Streaming)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44%
Runtime: 1 hour, 58 minutes
Where to Watch: Rent/Buy — Amazon, Fandango, etc.

For most of the reviews you’ll see on my blog, it’ll be the first time I’ve seen that particular film. However, sometimes I like to write reviews for movies I’ve rewatched, if only to increase the number of reviews you’ll see. Also, sometimes my opinion of said film may have improved or diminished after watching it again. Fortunately, though, I enjoyed Keanu Reeves’ The Replacements as much as I did the previous times I’d seen it.

Sure, it’s not a perfect film, and clearly critics disliked it enough to give it a disappointingly low Rotten Tomatoes score of 44%; but, I’d have to say I disagree with the critics, for the most part. The plot is fairly basic and not all that original, but the characters, dialogue, and actors are so entertaining and charming that it is nearly impossible to dislike. (Just read the user reviews on IMDb). 

I’m really not into sports in general, but I tend to enjoy sports films, as long as they’re interesting. Thankfully, not only are the football games and practices depicted in this film very exciting — albeit as over-the-top as intended — but the the non-football scenes are still fun to watch. It’d be easy to nitpick and explain why certain elements of the plot wouldn’t make any sense, but for a film that’s never boring and at times incredibly funny, that’s okay. 

Reeves, shortly after kicking ass in The Matrix, is at his most charming as the film’s protagonist. Despite not knowing all that much about the character by the end, it’s hard not to root for him to succeed (and to get the girl, played by the irresistibly adorable Brooke Langton). Reeves receives assists from Gene Hackman (clearly having a blast as the team’s coach), Orlando Jones (who gets the whole team to dance and sing along to “I Will Survive”), Rhys Ifans (who keeps smoking even while on the field), and others. 

The Replacements is basically the ideal sports movie, with plenty of laughs, action, and romance. While any attempts of more dramatic material don’t really stick, that’s okay, because none of it is meant to really be taken seriously. And, can we just talk about that soundtrack for a minute?  “I Will Survive” isn’t the only hit that you’ll hear, as it seems that the producers had a very high music budget.