REVIEW: ‘Home Team’ is Full of Feel-Good Moments

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Home Team - But Why tho

Home Team, one of Netflix’s newest original sports comedy films directed by  and , premiered earlier this week. The film is based on the NFL Bountygate scandal that occurred during the early 2010s. The film focuses on former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton (Kevin James), who is suspended for the entire 2012 season as a result of his role in the Bountygate scandal. He travels back to his hometown to reconnect with his son, Connor (Tait Blum). Having trouble finding ways to mend their relationship, Payton decides to help coach Connor’s football team, Pop Warner, under the leadership of head coach Troy Lambert (Taylor Lautner).

Payton mending the relationship with his son Connor takes center stage in Home Team. Part of Payton mending the relationship comes from helping out the football team. The other part comes from the two of them understanding each other and finding moments to just talk. While Connor resents his dad for not being there, it’s clear that he still cares deeply for him. The few moments that they have to talk about throughout the film are full of good-feel moments that will make audiences invested in seeing their relationship be mended. For instance, there’s a scene where Connor just asks his dad questions about what being a coach is like. That simple conversation goes a long way into helping them bond. However, I just wish more moments like this were included in the film. I understand that football was used as the main element to fix their relationship but these one-on-one conversations were much more interesting to watch.

While the premise of Home Team focuses on the bond that Payton aims to make with his son, he also forms a strong relationship with Connor’s football team. Though he’s hesitant to help the team since he aims to go back to the NFL, his passion for the sport is what influences him to help them win. What makes his bond with the team special is that he isn’t trying to relive his glory days or helping them for the wrong reasons. The dedication that Payton shows to the team is immense since he wants to help them improve on and off the film. He takes time to help out each member of the team without it ever feeling like a chore. Each time he helps out a member of the time is accompanied by moments full of heart and hilarity.

One of the more surprising aspects of Home Team came from Payton’s interactions with Eric (Jared Sandler), the hotel clerk. Every one of their interactions is full of awkward moments that come off as really funny. Whether it’s Payton asking for certain hotel perks and Eric being completely oblivious or Eric sharing way too much information about himself, the comedic dialogue between the two of them is well written. I haven’t seen much of Sandler’s work but given who he’s related to, it’s no surprise that he was able to interact with James so well. His line delivery as Eric was very straightforward but when combined with the way his dialogue is written, audiences will surely find him entertaining and hilarious.

While I understand the decision to make Home Team a sports comedy, it could have been much more had it been done in a serious tone. Given the real-life events that the film is based on and the impact it had on the NFL, the comedic tone takes away the seriousness of the situation. Yes, it’s been nearly a decade since these events occurred. However, exploring the Bountygate scandal further would have been an interesting direction for the film to take, especially for audiences who don’t watch football. There are plenty of feel-good moments, which could have had a bigger impact had the film decided to go for more dramatic moments. For instance, Connor asks his dad about the scandal midway through the film. Payton glosses over what happened and the film rushes towards a feel-good moment. I can’t help but wonder how this scandal impacted the relationship between Payton and his son. A scene like this could have explored that dynamic further.

Home Team is full of feel-good and hilarious moments that show a relationship between a father and son being mended. Unfortunately, the film suffers from glossing over the major scandal that serves as the reason why Payton even went back home, to begin with. Perhaps turning this into a limited series that still kept some of its comedic moments would have made a bigger impact. Either way, this is a family film that viewers will surely enjoy.

Home Team is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.


Home Team
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

Home Team is full of feel-good and hilarious moments that show a relationship between a father and son being mended. Unfortunately, the film suffers from glossing over the major scandal that serves as the reason why Payton even went back home, to begin with. Perhaps turning this into a limited series that still kept some of its comedic moments would have made a bigger impact. Either way, this is a family film that viewers will surely enjoy.