Necessary Roughness (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

Necessary Roughness (1991)



Critic Consensus: This likeable, goofy football comedy has its moments, but it ultimately adheres too closely to the sports movie playbook to overcome the cliches in the script.

Necessary Roughness Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

After a recruitment scandal, a struggling college football team is forced to turn to a rag-tag group of misfits in this sports comedy. It seems that Texas State University's football team has relied on some rather unorthodox -- and illegal -- methods to gain players, resulting in the disqualification of most of the team's stars. The desperate coach (Hector Elizondo) must rely on the school's actual students, a motley crew of unlikely characters that includes a female place kicker and a quarterback in his thirties. Unexpectedly, however, the coach discovers that the passer still has a heck of an arm, and suddenly the team again has a chance. The expected comic complications and obvious bits of slapstick follow as this band of eccentrics struggles to find a way to victory, resulting in a familiar reprise of a well-worn storyline.more
Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Rick Natkin, David J. Fuller, John Fasano, Richard Natkin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 30, 2001
Paramount Pictures


Scott Bakula
as Paul Blake
Hector Elizondo
as Coach Gennero
Robert Loggia
as Coach Rig
Harley Jane Kozak
as Suzanne Carter
Larry Miller
as Dean Phillips Elias
as Krimm
Fred Dalton Thompson
as Carver Purcell
Rob Schneider
as Chuck Neiderman
Jason Bateman
as Jarvis Edison
Andrew Bryniarski
as Wyatt Beaudry
Duane Davis
as Featherstone
Michael Dolan
as Eric `Samurai' Hanse...
Kathy Ireland
as Lucy Draper
Andrew Lauer
as Charlie Banks
Evander Holyfield
as Convict Football Pla...
Dick Butkus
as Convict Football Pla...
Earl Campbell
as Convict Football Pla...
Roger Craig
as Convict Football Pla...
Michael Petty
as Space Cadet #2
Ben Davidson
as Convict Football Pla...
Tony Dorsett
as Convict Football Pla...
Dave Tanner
as Pianist
Ed Jones
as Convict Football Pla...
Jim Kelly
as Prison Football Play...
Jerry Rice
as Convict Football Pla...
Herschel Walker
as Convict Football Pla...
Randy Wayne White
as Convict Football Pla...
Scott Davis
as Football Player
Chris Berman
as Himself
Rodger Boyce
as Sheriff Woods
Lee Gideon
as Booster
Darryl Cox
as Referee
Raul Flores
as Jayhawk Linebacker
Allan Graf
as Billy Bob's Bartende...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Necessary Roughness

Critic Reviews for Necessary Roughness

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (11)

For every sharp one-liner about a pampered college football team that's "so corrupt it could use its yearbook photos as mug shots," there's a brain-numbing plot development that's straight out of a desperate sitcom.

Full Review… | January 24, 2014
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The film itself is a genial, slight, entirely predictable football comedy, but it serves Bakula well.

Full Review… | January 24, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

As they say in football, pass.

Full Review… | January 24, 2014
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

The shameless commercialism and hypocrisy of big-time college football is a target as inviting as a receiver wide open in the end zone. But the muddled huddle that is Necessary Roughness is one long fumble strewn with offensive lines.

Full Review… | January 24, 2014
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

An amiable comedy.

Full Review… | January 24, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

This gridiron comedy piles up cliches the way Notre Dame racks up yardage, with an option-variety screenplay that promiscuously pitches the story in multiple directions.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Necessary Roughness this an episode of 'Quantum Leap' following the constant adventures of 'Sam Beckett'?. No?! well it sure as hell seems like it as the ever cuddly Scott Bakula portrays the same character he's always ever portrayed with the exact same haircut too...geez dude!. So lets not beat around the bush here, this is the late in the day 'Major League' clone that shamelessly rips every cliched idea from that film whilst attempting to look all innocent by turning it into a college football flick.

The plot is different of course, but end of the day it still involves a coach and his assistant trying to muster together a half decent team which ultimately ends up being a bunch of misfits, freaks, girls and Scott Bakula. From there on we get all the regular sports cliches and predictable fluff such as the team losing all the time, losing faith in their coach, a soppy romance, a rival team of assholes, the resurgence of the team and one man behind the scenes taking joy in the teams failure and trying to amplify it.

I think the problem with this film other than the fact its a lame clone, is they simply haven't created any fun characters to follow or care about. As I've already said Bakula plays the same character he always does, then you have a bloke who thinks he's a samurai warrior, the nerdy guy with specs, a huge Samoan guy, an Aussie?! (why would an Aussie be there?), a black guy who can't catch, a ex-military obsessed bloke, a female kicker and finally the hilarious comedian Sinbad...add sarcastic quips here. There are of course other faceless jock meathead players also.

Hell to even make sure they copied every single aspect of 'Major League' they even have a light-hearted announcer for the games...and its Rob Schneider! oh the quality. I really shouldn't keep going on about the similarities but its impossible not too! just look at the films poster, its identical in every way! unbelievable!.

The only big change in this film is the team doesn't actually win any league or championship in the end, they lose a load, tie a game and their final game of the season they manage to beat the top team but that's it. They presumably still end up near the bottom of their group or league, so we don't get the obligatory montage of wins when they turn their game around. What we do get is a sickly bit of crap when their coach goes into hospital of a suspected heart attack just in time for the final big game against the top team. We then get a vomit inducing scene where second in command Loggia tells the team to go and win it for the coach, possibly his last wish on Earth. Personally I thought this was all a set up to get the team to play well, or at least Loggia's character was exaggerating the illness and the coaches last words on purpose. Nope it was all for real, the illness isn't as bad as suspected, but the shitty cliched corny attempt at a rousing emotional scene was indeed for real.

This really is a prime example of an early 90's straight to the videoshop piece of turd trying to leech off the success of another earlier franchise. There are literately no redeeming features anywhere I can think of, its not funny, its not cheeky or rude as suggested by the poster, you have no interest in any characters, even the game sequences aren't very good or exciting...its just poorly made trash that didn't need to be made.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer


Necessary Roughness is a mildly entertaining comedy. This is not the type of film that is hysterically funny, but more mildly funny. There are a few chuckles here and there, but never anything hilarious. There's a decent cast here and they make the film work well. Though not a great comedy, Necessary Roughness is far from the worst. For the most part, I enjoyed the film, though it was a fairly decent film, and a decent attempt at a football comedy. I thought that the film was lots of fun despite the fact that it didn't have any memorable funny moments. This is purely a mindless film to watch. The film has nothing really hilarious, but it definitely is fun to watch. The film does have amusing bits here and there, and though it has been regarded as one of the worst sports comedies in the history of sports, I don't believe that to be true. I considering the film Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice to be the worst film, and not Necessary Roughness. This film does have plenty effective, fun moments to make it an enjoyable film. However they could have done a better job as well. The script could have gone through a rewrite to boost up the decent comedic elements. This a mindless decent comedy with a few decent laughs throughout. Although not the best sports comedy, this is far from the worst. Although I enjoyed this film, I think that best Football comedy has yet to be made. For what it is, Necessary Roughness is mindless fun despite its flaws.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

A fairly run of the mill sports movie with all the cliches in place, but Bakula and Elizondo are always very likeable.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Necessary Roughness Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (2 years ago)

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