Directors: Charles Kinnane and Daniel Kinnane
Writers: Chris Titone and Keith Blum
Starring: Kevin James, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Jackie Sandler, Tait Blum
Home Team is pretty much what you’d expect from a film by Happy Maddison Productions, starring Kevin James. It’s light-hearted and easy watching. There’s a lot of laughs, but nothing revolutionary to the sports underdog genre, even if this one is based on a true story.
Kevin James stars as Sean Peyton, head coach for New Orleans Saints. After being suspended due to involvement with the Bountygate scandal, Sean tries to reconnect with his son, Conor (Tait Blum). Their relationship has been strained by Sean not being around much while Conor was growing up. To spend more time with his son, Sean starts to coach his school’s football team, turning a losing streak around in the process.
This isn’t a story about the scandal, but instead a goofball comedy about a sports team overcoming the odds to achieve something no one thought they could. It’s based on a true story, but you can tell the writers have taken liberties with it, using familiar tropes to tell the story. We all know what’s going to happen with the underdogs before starting, but it’s still fun while it’s on. Kevin James is entertaining and it’s good to see Taylor Lautner again, even if he’s appearance is minimal.
The best thing about the film is the supporting larger-than-life characters, in particular a hotel clerk, named Eric, played by Jared Sandler (Adam Sandler’s nephew). Every time he’s on screen he’s funny. The side characters completely contrast with the more grounded main cast members. It’s never too gross or too over the top.
The film also works as a really nice feel-good film about a father reconnecting with his son. It’s not a tearjerker or that deep, but it works. While they start at odds with each other, they bond over the course of the story. It’s entertaining and the ending is satisfying.
Home Team doesn’t stray too far away from the formula, but it still works. It’s entertaining, has more than enough laughs and never feels dull. The perfect family film for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
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