The idea to make a movie based on the career of NFL coach Sean Payton seems feasible. After all we’ve been given movies based on stories that are far more undeserving of the film format. But having the story be ‘loosely’ based around the ‘Bountygate’ scandal (yeah, I had to look this up too) after the heroic victory of the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 Super Bowl, and have the man himself be played by Kevin James, then you’re left scratching your head at the prospect.
Add to it the main drive of this story, which sees Payton (James) join the coaching crew of his son’s high school football team whilst he serves his suspension, installing plays worth millions to a team that can barely string a complete pass together as they ceremoniously live up to their reputation of being bottom of the league.
When you thought the dreadful duo of Happy Madison Productions and Netflix reared its long awaited end, they once again team up for another exercise in overplayed immature humour, served up by Sandler’s recurring culprits. Kevin James, Rob Schneider, Jackie Sandler and Isaiah Mustafa? *checks notes*… that guy from the Old Spice adverts?
This film is certainly made with the younger audience in mind, which is where Sandler’s style of comedy would seemingly be better suited. But Home Team even fails to reach that as a comedy standard. Awkward, childish, outdated and on one occasion features a scene of severe projectile vomiting, which is actually a perfect analogy of what this film achieves on its cinematic merit.
Home Team plays like a generic Sandler picture with all the classic checklist tropes in tow. Goofy gags and features a handful of kooky caricatures all designed around a whimsically weak script. James gives a more restrained performance here. Most likely due to the fact he is portraying a real person, but even Payton can’t be happy with which he is portrayed. Not as much as a result of James’ babbling buffoonery, but more in which the character has been written. This is where the inclusion of Taylor Lautner’s Troy Lambert, Payton’s son’s football coach, who tries his best to keep this film grounded and provide it with at least some heart, even if it is provided in such slim circumstances.
To put it simply, the latest team up between Happy Madison Productions and Netflix is no Super Bowl. There’s no real ‘Hail Mary’ to its narrative, and many of the jokes that are on offer are more disappointing than a string of incomplete passes. If this film had gone down the dramatic route, and developed into something that was more than just wasted gags, then Home Team could have been an underdog worth backing. But as is becoming natural with the production team behind it, Home Team serves the same level of clumsy comedy that is becoming far too comfortable with its own style. A style that once again demonstrates comedy at its most impure form.