Home Team Review

So I watched Home Team

My wife made an interesting comment to me the other day. She’s not a fan of Adam Sandler but she said she really respected him because and I quote, “when he eats, everyone eats”. Now Sandler doesn’t star in this film but he did produce it and his usual band of brothers populate its cast. I wish I was Sandler’s friend, I could use a paid vacation.

Okay, basic plot: Sean Payton (Kevin James) is a Superbowl winning NFL coach who has recently been suspended for a year. Seeking a break from the media attention, he decides to visit his twelve-year-old son – Connor – who lives with his ex-wife in Texas. Connor’s peewee football team has an abysmal record; while initially reluctant to get involved in the coaching structure, Payton decides to help out and turn the team into winners.

I don’t follow the NFL so I had no idea who Sean Payton was or the scandal surrounding bountygate and after watching this movie I can confidently say I still have no idea who Sean Payton is or the scandal surrounding bountygate. This movie is some kind of strange hybrid mix of biopic, comedy and sports movie. It tries to have a foot in each genre but never manages to stand independently as an example of any of them. It lacks the insight and grit of a biopic; isn’t funny enough to be a comedy nor is it athletic enough to be a sports movie. It lacks a soul and this makes it completely unremarkable and instantly forgettable.

I think at its core, the movie was trying to be a lighthearted, fun, children’s sport movie in the spirit of Little Giants but it’s lacking heart, humour or anything approaching character development. People go from being estranged to best buddies without reason. Our main character has a life-changing revelation without any warning. There’s a formula to stories like this – a hardened, successful professional loses their heart on the road to success. He then falls from grace and is forced to retreat to a smaller town or smaller stage. He interacts with a ragtag group of underachievers with a plucky attitude and they help him regain his soul. He then realises that there’s more to life than material success. Play a catchy pop song as the credits roll in. Oh, and there needs to be a healthy amount of cheese. Sometimes a cheesy movie is a good movie.

Home Team stubbornly refuses to stick to this playbook and winds up being a mess of disorganised ideas and unfulfilled character arcs. The best word to describe this film’s script is bland. It definitely isn’t good but isn’t bad enough to make you hate it. You’re just left feeling disappointed at missed opportunities. This movie has a cast and they say words. That’s the only way to describe their individual and collective performances. The script’s lack of charm, humour and heart is reflected by the cast’s acting. Once again, bland comes to mind.

Overall, Home Team is just a missed opportunity in so many ways. Its script is poor, the actors are absent at the best of times and it fails to give me insight into the Sean Payton story or make light of it. It’s vague, unentertaining and not worth watching 4/10

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