‘Home Team’ is an embarrassing Hail Mary for Sean Payton


Home team follows the true story of how former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton (Kevin James) handled his season away from the NFL during his suspension following the Bountygate scandal, when Saints players were tricked into injuring members of opposing teams. He now finds himself in Argyle, Texas caring for his son, Connor (Tait Blum), as he plays for his college football team, the Liberty Christian Warriors. Payton, who can’t stand to see these kids fail repeatedly, signs on as offensive coordinator, so Home team follows the familiar path of an eccentric young sports team defying all odds and so on.

It’s the latest Netflix comedy from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, so you can bet it’s littered with familiar faces. The supporting cast includes Sandler’s real-life wife, Jackie Sandler, as Payton’s ex-wife, Beth. And Rob Schneider plays her crusty new husband, Jamie. There’s also Jared Sandler (Adam Sandler’s nephew) as a TJ Miller-esque hotel attendant named Eric (don’t worry, TJ Miller isn’t really in there).

Perhaps one of the more interesting casting choices is Taylor Lautner as Warriors head coach Troy Lambert. Lautner has been mostly inactive since 2016, except for a few small Sandler projects, and it was quite refreshing to see him back with the Happy Madison team and in a bigger role. Listen, if you grew up watching water boy and Billy Madisonso it’s great to see this team again, and their undeniable chemistry is what might make this movie interesting for some.

Home team doesn’t win any of the proverbial Vince Lombardi trophies. It’s not a Top 10 draft pick or even a Kevin James Top 5 movie. What makes this film as watchable as it is is how it distinguishes between ludicrous humor and heartfelt moments, while leaning more on the great scenes than the ones that make you spin your ass off. ‘stomach. children in the film are funny and looks like real college kids, and while the jokes sometimes fall flat, by the end of the movie you find yourself cheering them on. Go Warriors. There are plenty of scenes where Kevin James is clearly the most experienced actor on screen, but that honestly works to the film’s benefit. Even when it seems like everyone around James looks visibly intimidated and nervous, well that’s the point considering James portrays a former NFL coach with a Super Bowl ring.


The film’s crude humor is where things really go out of bounds. There are two clear examples of this: first, when the kicker has a crush on a girl on the sidelines and is unable to perform during the game, he ends up kicking the ball directly into a sensitive area of ​​a teammate. Of course, it’s a hilarious gag in a movie that was designed for low blows like this. But it comes up in the movie 4 or 5 times. We understood. Later in the film, and this is really the worst, there is a scene where the Warriors have only one game left to win a game and rather than giving up when some players fall ill after eating a meal. pre-game, the film graphically depicts what it would be like if 11 college kids violently vomited on a football field in the middle of a thunderstorm. This might work for some viewers, and there’s certainly a market for these nasty scenes, but for most people over the age of 13, these gags will inspire them to do just that.

And yes, the real Sean Payton is apparently a pretty terrible person, all things considered. The portrayal of Kevin James as a family man giving too much to his career… well, that’s almost certainly not the case. There are plenty of scandals in the NFL, but it bears repeating that Payton, along with other Saints coaches and players, funded a veritable bounty list. As in, they rewarded players for hurting other players from opposing teams. Netflix, Sandler and James coming together to make this man a hero in such a weird and bloated festival is a very strange and indefensible decision. Perhaps it would seem less egregious if they had invented a new Payton-inspired character. It’s no surprise that Payton himself approved the script, and it’s probably no coincidence that he announced his retirement the day the movie started streaming on Netflix.

Home team we obviously won’t remember it the same way Remember the titans and silver ball are, but it’s way better than a lot of the usual trashy sports movies we’ve seen in recent years, from draft day for Blade of Glory. As far as terrible people biopics go, this seems to take up the same space as something like The greatest showmanthe management of PT Barnum. Still, it’s still nice to see some of the Happy Madison crew hanging out together, and while it wasn’t as hilarious (or disgusting) as some of the others from the Sandler Cinematic Universe, Home team seems to split the amounts for exactly what an audience can expect from a movie like this. Unfortunately, he also scores as a field goal, a 3 out of 10.

Home team is now available to stream on Netflix. Watch the trailer here.



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