he image of men getting socked in the groin may never lose its comic appeal -- a fact that the obstinately funny Adam Sandler is counting on. His new movie, The Longest Yard, is peppered with scenes of footballs connecting with the crown jewels of many big, bad men.

  In this remake of the 1974 classic, which starred Burt Reynolds, The Longest Yard features Sandler as Paul Crewe, a retired pro quarterback who finds himself in prison. He soon becomes the enemy of the sadistic warden who, in a moment of evil genius, decides to assign Crewe the task of cobbling together a team of inmates to take on the prison's guards in a fixed football game.

  Paying homage to the original flick, director Peter Segal (50 First Dates and Anger Management) is quick to assuage the fears of any remake-wary folks. "When I first heard that Happy Madison (Sandler's production company) had purchased the rights to remake the movie, I thought that sounded like a 

actors
Adam Sandler
Chris Rock
Burt Reynolds
Nelly

director
Peter Segal

outtake  
Gangsta rapper Snoop Dogg had hoped to play Nelly's role in The Longest Yard, but had to pass because he had already committed to touring with Linkin Park and Korn during the filming dates.

good one. Just my gut," Segal said. "There's a fine line between choosing the kinds of movies that are worthy of remaking and others that aren't. It's a choice one makes but I certainly think you're in safer territory the further you are away from the original."

  Segal also reveals that perpetual funny man Sandler didn't treat his role as a laughing matter. Though Sandler is no virgin when it comes to underdog football movies -- he played a slow-witted, na´ve mama's boy turned football star in the 1998 hit The Waterboy -- he prepped for The Longest Yard by training with a 14-year NFL veteran quarterback.

  Sandler also worked with another veteran -- Reynolds, who plays football hero and coach Nate Scarboro, also on lockdown. "I'm not quite as smooth as Burt, but I make up for it with some sweetness," Sandler confesses. "I don't got the sex appeal, but I can sweet you to death."

  Chris Rock, who shares starring duties in the film (Rock and Sandler have known each other for 20 years but this is their first on-screen pairing since Saturday Night Live), says the sex appeal on set didn't end with Reynolds. R&B/hip hop star Nelly plays fellow convict Earl Megget.

  Rock jokes, "Nelly has had sex with every woman on the set. It's the Pimp Juice or whatever he gives them."

  And Sandler adds, "That kid's got some sex appeal. That kid makes me question myself."

  Sandler's fans certainly don't question him. He's already proven to countless moviegoers that he's got game, and in The Longest Yard he takes the game of funny straight into to the end zone.

- Sharmila Jowlabar