by Netflix Home team proves that Happy Madison movies on the platform need Adam Sandler to truly thrive. Produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison, Home team was another critical Netflix flop for the comedian’s production company, with the comedic sports drama based on a true story failing to inspire the laughs or heartwarming moments that its premise promises. The presence of several new faces in leading roles such as duskis Taylor Lautner and SNLby Chloe Fineman are apparently orchestrated to upset the debates, but Home team it still feels like it claims Adam Sandler’s presence from start to finish in much the same way as past Happy Madison productions.
Home team follows suspended NFL head coach Sean Peyton (Kevin James), who returns home after his role in the infamous Bountygate scandal in 2012. Initially despondent, Peyton begins to reconnect with his 12-year-old son by coaching his college football. Liberty Christian High team, with their win-at-all-costs mentality returning quickly. Yet, under the leadership of the Kinnane brothers, Home team feels stripped of the complexities that made Sean Peyton’s true story so engrossing, the result being a watered-down family comedy that vastly misses the mark.
As a result, Home team unequivocally proves that Netflix’s Happy Madison movies need Adam Sandler to work. For all his acting skills, Kevin James alone can’t carry the goofy formula of Happy Madison the way its creator did, which means any production that doesn’t feature Adam Sandler seems hollow by comparison. Sandler’s previous collaborations with Netflix and Happy Madison as an actor are further proof of this, with films such as Murder Mystery proving a streaming hit in 2019 despite lukewarm critical reception.
It is as if Home team is already acutely aware of the need for Adam Sandler in one form or another throughout its runtime, using Sandler’s wife Jackie, daughter Sunny, and nephew Jared in various roles. Yet, despite the big turns of the three actors, they do not replace the Happy Gilmore star himself. Sandler’s ability to pull off even the most austere script with his physical, offbeat comedy is an invaluable commodity in Netflix and Happy Madison’s collaborations, with the horror-comedy hubie halloween a prime example of Sandler stealing the show even when a given film’s writing is poor.
Kevin James and Taylor Lautner perform admirably in Home team, but their more limited following and inability to change production on a whim meant the pair were essentially doomed. By contrast, Sandler has creative freedom within his own production company to cut and alter his character’s actions, which is why Sandler is often the main attraction in even the most poorly written films. Plus, Sandler’s market appeal is undeniable. Netflix reported in 2019 that Murder Mystery was seen by as many as 83 million American households upon its release, underscoring its continued national influence some 20 years after its breakout role in Billy Madison. Put simply, Netflix’s Happy Madison films are undeniably elevated by Adam Sandler starring in them, which means the streaming giant should insist that Sandler star in its own productions in the future to avoid a repeat of Home teamthe performance of.
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