“Home Team,” a Netflix film, is an inspiring comedy biopic of Sean Payton, the NFL Coach of the New Orleans Saints football team. The film portrays Kevin James in an unusually sincere role, with Tait Blum cast as his son. While both compliment each other, the film has comedic elements around them, but they never become the ones initiating the act of comedy, keeping true to the characters in real life and keeping their stories intact.
As of 2022, the NFL (National Football League) stands to be the most prestigious football league in America. Players are drafted at very young ages and trained rigorously right from their teens, winning bountiful sports scholarships to later become major-league players, which is considered a huge deal in the United States. Unlike major league basketball, American football is the only sport where the ball is almost egg-shaped and handed or thrown from hand to hand. We know the famous quarterbacks are responsible for taking the lead score, thereby helping the teams earn points.
Strategy is the key to winning. But some teams resort to underhanded behavior that is eventually discovered, and the Federation deals a harsh blow to it. In 2012, Sean Payton was accused of such underhandedness when it was discovered that certain players on his team were paid to physically harm other players, injuring them and not letting them continue in the game to earn the Saints points to take the lead in the NFL. Whether he was guilty or not is unclear, but this biopic focuses on the relationship he shared with his son during the time of his suspension.
One would assume that Kevin James (previously in Hitch, Zookeeper) is cast in a role that is very unlike the usual character we see on the screen constantly goofing around. You would expect him to burst into his elements of comedy at any moment and laugh heartily at his act, but he does the opposite, which is heartening. Supporting this role, we see a comeback from Taylor Lautner (previously seen in The Twilight Saga), who may seem nearly in shape to be an assistant coach to Kevin James’s Sean Payton. Producer Adam Sandler and others focus on creating a team of half adults and half children, surprisingly bright for their age, to learn with Sean Payton how to become real footballers, battling pain and learning to overcome hurdles in all parts of their lives. In his year of suspension from 2012 to 2013, Sean Payton built a bond with his estranged son, Connor.
“Home Team” begins with Coach Payton getting suspended from his job. While trying to appeal his case, the Federation blocks him and tells him to keep away for a year. Obviously, with an accusation like that and not being able to plead his case, he goes home to watch his son play football. He meets his ex-wife and live-in boyfriend, both of whom have been Connor’s staunch supporters for a long time. Connor is still a teenager going through a complicated emotional life when it comes to the role that his father plays in his life. Not fully acquainted with him, Sean tries to egg his way into coaching his son’s team, who are grappling with trying to make at least one touchdown. While trying to find his purpose, Sean meets Coach Troy (Tayler Lautner), a sincere person only trying to look out for the adolescents learning to play the game. With Sean’s expertise, the team slowly builds a bond within themselves, and they understand how to handle their emotions at the same time to come very close to winning the league.
While the film focuses on team spirit and camaraderie, it is unclear whether, in real life, Sean Payton was guilty or not. All we know is that he was suspended for a year to come back to coach the New Orleans Saints team in 2013 and resumed his position as head coach. The film gives a gentle nudge to what greatness is, whether it is a step down the ladder or a step up towards fame and the idea of winning. Sincere and heartwarming, it is a treasure to watch Kevin James and Taylor Lautner make a comeback in something like sports, because it’s the last thing you would expect them to do. Inspiring and capturing the heart, the film is an easy watch for everyone that enjoys the thrill of good American football.
“Home Team” is a 2022 Drama Biopic film directed by Charles Kinnane and Daniel Kinnane. It is currently streaming on Netflix.