PROPERTY OF NETFLIX
[TO THE POINT]
Genre: Comedy. Sport.
"Home Team doesn’t inspire much goodwill."
HOME TEAM (2022)
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"The story about New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton coaching his son's 6th grade football team, when Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season as a result of his role in the Saints' Bountygate scandal."
OUR [TO THE POINT] REVIEW:
Happy Madison Productions may not receive glowing critical appraisals, but Adam Sandler and company continue to prosper with their brand of crass comedy. Ironically enough, the senseless slapstick Happy Madison presents on the big screen is backed by the company’s ingenious business sensibilities behind the screen. The comedy staple lives on 20 years past its debut, spawning several box office hits while also being among the first to embrace the advent of streaming.
The studio’s latest streaming enterprise Home Team loosely bases itself off the life of NFL head coach Sean Payton. Stuck coaching his son’s listless team after being suspended from the league for a year, Payton’s unique experience certainly presents some intrigue. Unsurprisingly, Home Team reduces Payton’s notable experience into a laugh-free detour into sports movies’ dullest clichés.
The movie gets Payton wrong from jump street. Screenwriters Keith Blum and Chris Titone take the liberty of transforming Payton’s family-man reality into a clichéd existence as a divorced dad. Aside from brief mentions of the Bounty Gate scandal that earned Payton his suspension, this movie shares no discernable understanding of its subject nor any interest in digging into this complex period in his life.
Plenty of good movies take drastic liberties with history, but Home Team’s change of pace doesn’t lead to a successful comedy. Kevin James continues to struggle in his delivery of a one-note comedic style, lazily throwing one-liners while lacking the believable presence of a storied head coach. It’s bizarre to see Sandler continue to rely upon The King of Queens funnyman, with his one-note shtick and lack of charisma growing tired long before his ill-conceived performance here.
James’ half-hearted energy only magnifies the screenplay’s generic design. In a lame-duck ode to underdog comedies like Bad News Bears and The Benchwarmers, both writers fail to create any comedic momentum. The jokes are incorporated without much thought or creativity, with the movie often coming to a screeching halt just to reintroduce lackluster running gags. It’s the typical blend of gross-out pratfalls and lazily-crafted barbs that Happy Madison continues to run into the ground without much inspiration.
As a hapless byproduct of Happy Madison needing to fulfill their Netflix contractual obligations, Home Team doesn’t inspire much goodwill. Everything about the film is executed with a bare minimum level of effort, with the team involved haphazardly throwing flat punchlines and gross-out gags without any real success. On a slightly positive note, at least the film’s January streaming release allows it to disappear from the public without much fanfare.