HOME TEAM: Part Biography, Part Mighty Ducks Feel, Mostly Just a Fine Family Film by Happy Madison
Directed by Charles & Daniel Kinnane
Stars: Kevin James, Taylor Lautner, Gary Valentine, Tait Blum, Maxwell Simkins, Jared Sandler, Jackie Sandler, and Rob Schneider
Telling the Sean Payton story as a family sports movie is definitely an interesting decision. Unlike other biopics, deciding to make this one a family friendly film changes the way the story could be told and that comes with its own positives, and a ton of limitations to its efficiency. With all of those factors in consideration, this venture into family friendly story telling, turns out to be better than some of the last few Happy Madison films.
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.
The Mighty Duck feel presents plenty of opportunity for laughs for the entire sporty family. Parents can bond with their children, as this story feels very reminiscent of the Bombay turning a team of misfits into a team of stars. The jokes are fine, much like every other Happy Madison movie- some land, and others completely go wide. Yet they’ll pitch every joke to see what sticks. The jokes cause the movie to have a case of identity disorder- it wants to be a kid movie so bad, but it also knows it needs to reach for the low hanging fruit for cheap laughs because that’s what people expect from the company. So you’ll go from one kids joke, to something that feels like its trying to be inappropriate, all just leaving the viewer confused at who this is for.
The limitation of deciding to tell a biopic as a kids movie really shows it’s teeth as every character is one dimensional. Even Sean has the most standard description of who he is, and therefore the story feels so familiar and standard that its bound to bore so many households who give it a chance this weekend.
The acting is fine, Kevin James does what he can as Sean Payton- even if he is miscast, he delivers as best as he can to come off serious. Taylor Lautner is really good as the kid football coach- and I hope that he can slowly creep back into movies even if it’s in the Happy Madison universe full time. The Old Spice Guy, Isaiah Mustafa shows up as a rival football coach and honestly he is feeling himself in the villain role.
In the end, Home Team is fine. It’s not the worst movie of all time, and there is some endearing elements to it. It’s a familiar movie that everyones seen, and it’s jokes are mixed- but for a January movie to watch with your kids you may as well add this to the Netflix Watchlist.