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Home Team

The Happy Madison deal with Netflix has reached a very unusual stop on its journey through the history of the streaming giant.Adam Sandler’s company often alternates vehicles for the superstar like “Hubie Halloween” (one of their better movies) with offerings that center one of his BFFs like大卫锹orKevin James。The latter gets to lead the abysmal “Home Team,” a new entry in the bottom tier of the production company, a tone-deaf dramedy that’s allegedly based on the true story of Sean Payton’s suspended year after Bountygate although that would imply that there’s a single manipulative beat of this movie that feels “true.” I’m not one to judge a film based on concept—it’s always about the execution more than the premise. However, turning one of the NFL’s most violent and notorious scandals into a family film about getting to love football again challenges this belief. Could a good film have come out of this narrative kickoff? Maybe, but it has a high degree of difficulty, and it sure isn’t “Home Team,” one that starts with a bad taste in your mouth that only gets more rancid.

James plays the legendary New Orleans coach, who, of course, is introduced on the fake sideline as he wins the Super Bowl in 2010. “Home Team” introduces Payton as a soft-spoken genius with a driven desire to win. All he does is win games and chew gum. He may value the sport more than he should but that’s hisonlyflaw and the film you’re going to watch will basically make him perfect, right? Of course, almost every detail of Bountygate is quickly dispensed or ignored, including the fact that it was reportedly taking place during that 2010 season. The quick version is that the New Orleans Saints were paying bounties to defensive players for causing injuries to members of the other team. Roger Goodell suspended the Defensive Coordinator indefinitely and sent Sean Payton home for a season. While he denied involvement, and the film has the nerve to give him a “but the buck stops with me whether I knew or not” speech to stay at least a little neutral, the league determined through an investigation that Payton did know about the system, which he steadfastly denied.

Listen, “Home Team” doesn’t have to be a "Moneyball"-style expose about Bountygate but setting it up as image rehab for one of its major players gives it a shaky, uncertain foundation from the beginning. James’ Payton returns to his North Texas hometown and reunites with his son Connor (Tait Blum), discovering that the boy is on one of the worst football teams in the region. Being a sports animal, Payton can’t just watch the horror unfold, and ends up coaching the team to a successful season, learning how to prioritize relationships and people over winning. “Home Team” is the story of a man who turned a punishment into a learning lesson, but it never feels more than superficially interested in the very idea that that man had to be caught (or at least accused of) breaking the rules to spend any time with his own son.

It’s a complex idea in a family sports movie structure that avoids complexity by its very nature. In an early scene, Payton tells the boys one obvious defensive play, they score their first TD of the season, and Payton smiles like he’s feeling the joy of sports for the first time ever as the music soars. Really? It’s almost a parody of bad sports movies, which is harmless enough unless you consider the allegation that it’s all true. NONE of it feels true.

忽略NFL粉丝带来“家庭团队”的所有内容,真正的问题是它只是根据自己的术语构建不佳。假装这不是一个“真实的故事”,它仍然是运动,父母身份和喜剧的浅薄代表,几乎没有笑声。轻微的斗争很容易克服,人物被赋予一个特征来发挥差,而且经常迷人的詹姆斯被迫以最平淡的方式捕捉“头部教练”的沉闷色谱。然后有Rob Schneider角色,对佩顿的卡通对比,他们现在与教练的前妻,一个旨在成为最广泛的漫画救济的角色。施耐德吹捧素食冰淇淋,穿着依偎着游戏,体育一个男人面包。他是作家的散步榜“与任何NFL教练相反”,它只是侮辱性的。

As the film reaches its thin climax, there’s a scene in which the whole team that Payton is coaching ends up projectile vomiting during a game. I felt similarly nauseous but for different reasons.

On Netflix today.


Brian Tallerico is the Editor of, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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