Union-busting has never been so much fun.
Keanu Reeves' new gridiron comedy, The Replacements (Warner Bros.), recalls the story of the 1987 NFL players strike with the kind of upbeat, Adam Sandler-ish wackiness that only Hollywood can bring to labor relations.
Keanu's Shane Falco is a washed-up quarterback turned boat-scraper who's called back into action for the fictional Washington Sentinels, with just three games left in the season. Sentinels coach Jimmy McGinty (a crusty but hopeful Gene Hackman) thinks Falco and the rest of his motley crew of scabs will give him a shot at the playoffs, despite their second-string abilities.
Joining Keanu in the huddle are doofy cop Bateman (Jon Favreau); fast-talkin', wise-crackin' Franklin (Orlando "Up Yours" Jones, from those ubiquitous 7-Up commercials), who can also improvise one damn fine version of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive"; and Notting Hill's Rhys Ifans, who gets the game ball as flabby, imported soccer-player turned placekicker Gruff.
Of course, there are also replacement cheerleaders. In this case, they're a squad of exotic dancers turned pom-pom girls, who blindside the opposing team as the Sentinels go for gold.
There's some piling on, in the form of a little two-hand touch between Keanu and Melrose Place star Brooke Langton, but the Major League-meets-Longest Yard finale is a two-minute drill worthy of Joe Montana.