By Riley Eisenbeil
Who would have thought that Paul Blart Mall Cop and Jacob Black would have their very own crossover episode? The two stars, Kevin James and Taylor Lautner, came together for a Netflix original titled “Home Team.”
Released by Netflix on Jan. 28, the movie tells a powerful underdog story.
The film follows the New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton (Kevin James) during his year-long suspension from the NFL after the news that he paid players bonuses to purposely injure opposing teams had been released.
After this, Payton found himself back in Dallas, Texas coaching the Warriors, his son’s school football team alongside Troy Lambert (Taylor Lautner). Payton had been absent for a good chunk of his son Connor’s life due to his dedication to the Saints — so when he came back to help coach, viewers could guess that they were about to witness the strengthening of their father-son relationship.
“Home Team” perfectly combined humor and heartfelt emotions into a ninety-minute movie. Casting Kevin James and Rob Schneider, who played Payton’s ex-wife's new man, in the same movie did not disappoint. The humor was comparable to their most well-known roles in “Grown Ups.”
From a gurgling jacuzzi to a bike riding, mildly questionable assistant coach, the movie is sure to make you laugh.
The front desk assistant at the local hotel that Payton stayed at in Dallas was also a highlight of the humor. Although he had such a minor role, his out-of-pocket mannerisms made it hard not to focus on him. Whether he was peeling a dozen hard-boiled eggs at the front desk, playing connect four with himself or telling Payton to counteract the loud noise of the jacuzzi filter with a fan — as if that would fix anything — his character was a good addition to the cast.
Another good choice by directors Charles and Daniel Kinnane was how to end the movie. Rather than give a predictable ending, they twisted it so viewers wouldn’t see the ending coming.
Throughout the whole beginning of the season, the electricity would go out when the Warriors were losing by at least 40 points — the scoreboard would just go black. At the championship game, while the spectators and commentators looked frightful at the scene that unfolded in front of them, the underdogs found a way to make it positive even though they didn’t get the typical storybook ending.
Now although it is funny and a must-watch, the concept of the movie — dedicating an entire movie to one of the most infamous scandals in the history of the NFL — is a bit questionable. Sean Payton paid his players bonuses, or “bounties,” to injure opposing teams enough to get their best players off of the field. He was suspended for the 2012 season without pay for what they called “Bountygate.”
As the film was based on Payton’s life, many football fanatics are able to see through the lighthearted jokes and base their opinions of the film solely based on how terrible Sean Payton was during the years leading up to the 2012 season. However, the movie as a whole did an alright job at bringing light to a terrible scandal.
Sean Payton has been coaching the Saints since 2006 and just recently announced that he will be leaving his first and only head coaching job — a perfect time for the movie to release.
While the movie can have its controversies, it did include a lot of jokes and comical scenes while simultaneously being able to send goosebumps or even cause tears to some watchers. Don’t let the concept of football steer you away from this film if you aren’t into sports. I promise, whether or not you are a fan of football as a sport or of Sean Payton personally, this movie is a must-watch for the whole family.