There are a few obvious flaws. Keanu Reeves as a quarterback. C'mon. The guy had more muscle when he was a SWAT team member in "Speed." However, he grows on you with that quiet earnestness he puts into every role. Who cares if he can't act? He tries anyhow. The characters were aptly stereotypical, but the actors tried their best to instill humor and freshness. The guy who will be forever known as The Seven-Up Guy, for example. Rhys Ifans, Gene Hackman, and others. And whodda thunk, a sumo wrestler who can act?? The romance does not have an ounce of believability, nor does the speed with which Reeves's Shane Falco earns his team members' loyalty and respect. I won't even mention the overwhelming odds these replacements would have faced in reality. But all is well in MovieLand. The football coups are accomplished in a blurred frenzy--and this may very well be because I don't understand football at all--which doesn't help with the believability issue either. It's made to seem . . . too easy. The "villain," Martell, is too obviously and stereotypically insensitive, arrogant, and fails typically when it is his time to shine. Shane Falco returns and makes it all better. The movie is all athletic energy, jock humor, and no substance.
But . . . I will mention a few things about this movie that made it okay. The "I Will Survive" dance scenes. The aforementioned energetic football scenes. And I always like it when people bond. It was refreshing to see Martell get punished for his arrogance, because his actions are all too commonplace in the world of professional sports. Mercenary attitudes. Free agency. Jumping ship as soon as someone offers a larger paycheck. Clashing egos during the game. Athletes forgetting why they started playing the game in the first place. This movie is a sort of fantasy situation where real athletes, athletes with heart, get a "second chance" to shine. Nobody will claim that "The Replacements" is a masterpiece. But hey, it was one heckuva average sports movie.
Rating: B- (First viewing, 8/25/00)