- Last Updated: 7:18 AM, June 14, 2012
- Posted: 1:22 AM, June 14, 2012
Rex Ryan, movie actor, won’t inspire comparisons to Olivier, or Brando or De Niro anytime soon. And thanks to that prodigious weight loss, he won’t remind anyone of John Goodman in “The Babe,” or John Candy in anything.
But among our programmed football coaches, he earns the label of the Bill Belichick of character actors.
Adam Sandler handpicked Rex to play a Patriots-obsessed attorney in “That’s My Boy”, which opens nationally Friday, because Rex has the persona, irreverence and quirkiness to pull it off, and has shown an inclination to poke fun at himself, and others.
He is the only NFL head coach I know who would consent to be featured in a laugh track flick this raunchy and this … Rex-Rated.
It’s a small part, one large scene at the beginnng and two smaller ones at the end, but it nevertheless serves as a reminder that the coach of the Jets remains Everyman.
The title of his book was “Play Like You Mean It,” and Rex played the part of a cheesy lawyer like he meant it. Jets Nation will undoubtedly leave theaters chanting “That’s My Rex.”
So it’s a better idea than dropping Tim Tebow on the lap of Mark Sanchez, and good guy Sandler has the daring and silver screen street cred to attempt this type of Hail Mary and maybe watch it turn into a publicity touchdown.
The only way it would have been more fun for Rex was if he got to play Heather Locklear’s love interest, and nobody needs to remind him that Joe Namath played opposite Ann-Margret once in “CC and Company.”
It doesn’t mean, of course, that Rex should quit his day job.
His role as Jim Nance — with the permission of Belichick and Brady, by the way — is more of an inside joke certain to be appreciated mostly by Jets fans and maybe some Patriots and NFL fans more than it figures to be the launching pad for any Best Supporting Actor honors.
Rex playing a Patriots fan with a Belichick bobblehead doll on his desk and a Brady poster on the wall of his office won’t get much of a rise out of anyone who has no idea he is Son of Buddy, and may not play in Peoria either.
And let’s face it, virtually anyone can play the part of a cheesy lawyer. What, Jerry Sandusky’s guy, Joe Amendola, wasn’t available?
“We thought it would be funny because we wanted a lawyer who could handle degenerates well,” Sandler said yesterday on a conference call. “We knew he could handle anybody.”
Never mind that’s what Woody Johnson and Mike Tannenbaum thought, too!
His big scene had him seated behind a desk in suit and tie, and with his hands motioning in front of him to emphasize a point and eyes wide, he tells Sandler, a deadbeat dad named Donny, “You haven’t paid taxes since ’94, Donny.”
Donny, seated on the other side of the desk, everpresent beer in hand, says: “I thought they were taking them out automatically.”
Rex: “I told ’em that’s what you thought. They said it’s the stupidest thing they ever heard. But there is some good news. If you can pay the balance off by the end of the weekend, they’ll suspend the sentence.”
Donny: “Oh OK, there you go. What are we talking about? Hit me.”
Donny: “43 grand? No!” (He promptly leaps out of his chair, grabs a chair and throws it at the Brady poster on the wall.)
Rex slams his hands on his desk and stands, as irritated as he would be if Santonio Holmes were to throw a teammate under the bus, and says: “Come on, Donny. Don’t screw up my Tom Brady poster. It’s my favorite one. Look at that jaw line.” Rex stares to his right at the poster and says, rubbing his chin: “Just the right amount of scruff.”
When Sandler causes the Belichick bobblehead doll to bobble, a mortified Rex erupts: “Hey, hey, hey. You’re killin’ me, man. Don’t mess with the genius.”
Rex, clad in casual attire at the end, shows up in the final scene to help Donny root on a fat guy named Tubby Tuke (Rex in a previous life), an 800-1 underdog, running the Marathon on an overhead television. “Come on, come on,” Rex exhorts. Donny, on his cheesy lawyer’s advice, had bet $20 on Tubby Tuke, who wins, and Rex thrusts his arms skyward as if signalling touchdown and exults when Tubby Tuke shocks the world. You could close your eyes and almost imagine him sprinting down the sidelines to greet Shonn Greene after his 2011 playoff touchdown against Belichick’s Patriots.
Sandler gushed about how Rex had studied his playbook. “100 percent prepared, like every coach is,” Sandler said.
Perhaps the next time Sandler can add a scene where Rex pitches a fit at someone and walks out of his office bellowing, “Let’s go eat a G-D snack.”
Rex is big in the New York-New England market, but he isn’t national yet because he hasn’t won a Super Bowl. If Sandler decides to shoot “That’s My Grandpa,” Tom Coughlin would be a natural, preferably in the role of a general.
In the meantime, Rex is wise enough now not to guarantee an Oscar. The only guarantee will undoubtedly be Broadway Joe panning “That’s My Boy.”Follow @NYPostsports