It is one of those lazy Sundays where you’re just looking for something chilled to do. Luckily, Netflix has many options, but the recent release Home Team starring Kevin James, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Jackie Sandler, and Tait Blum is my pick for this weekend.
Home Team tells the story of 2010 Superbowl winning coach Sean Payton (Kevin James) during his time as an outcast from the sport. You’ll have to forgive me as I don’t follow much NFL. Still, long story short, the New Orleans Saints were said to pay a “bounty” to players in their defensive line for every opposition player they injured. Payton, the head coach, was suspended for a season and not allowed to contact the team or anyone apart of the Saints organisation. Don’t get into the politics; pretend the movie has nothing to do with real-life; you’ll enjoy it more.
Payton returns to his hometown in North Texas to re-kindle some sort of relationship with his son Connor (Tait Blum), whom he has all but pushed to the side to pursue his dream of coaching an NFL team. Connor plays for the local team, the Warriors who’s coach (Lautner) is a little out of his depth with the fundamentals but is doing his best to make sure the team enjoys themselves. Payton notices the hard work the team is putting in, and through one fateful moment of help, is offered to help coach the team.
If you’re looking for an Oscar winner, you’re looking in the wrong spot. Home Team is firmly set in the tried and tested Happy Madison world, and everything entails. The story is a feel-good switch your brain off story of a father’s redemption, realising what he has missed in his son’s life for work and reconnecting through a shared enjoyment. It is shallow and weak, but sometimes that is all you need. James plays the hard head, stat focussed coach well. Still, he lacks something, probably because this is a role where the character’s personality is different from what we are used to. Supporting characters each bring their own elements to them, focusing on Rob Schneider’s Jamie, Payton’s ex-wife’s new husband. He is cast as the complete opposite of Payton.
He meditates, has hair up in a bun, talks about vegan ice cream and inappropriate “backpacking in my college days” stories and barracks for Connor like any good stepfather would. It is perfect to see Rob in his mandatory losing his mind moments. Schneider provided most of the laughs for me for non-other than the wholesome way he portrays a step-parent that may be very different, but the heart is in the right place.
Home Team doesn’t have your over-the-top in-your-face moments that some other Happy Madison films are known for, and unfortunately, you know how the story is going to go very early on; you’ve seen this type of movie many times before. It’s still a bit of fun though, so give it a watch.
Home Team is available now on Netflix Australia.
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