Home Team

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 12/16/01 10:33:54

"The things Steve Guttenberg will do for a role..."
1 stars (Total Crap)

Imagine someone took a script from a Mighty Ducks movie, changed every mention of ice hockey to baseball, and then filled it with the worst actors they could find. Who would be the star? Yeah, you got it. Steve Guttenberg. Welcome to Home Team, perhaps the single worst, feeble-minded, ham-fisted, by-the-numbers sports movie I've ever had the misfortune to see. This is the kind of script that's so bad, and so neglected and so unimportant that nobody even claims authorship to it. Home Team is to baseball movies what the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are to baseball - they're the redheaded stepchildren you wish you could forget about.

Let's see how many cliches we can point out here, and whether we can differentiate them from the outright rip-offs.

First of all, Guttenberg plays a convicted criminal, who has been let off with community service. He'll serve his community service working for neglected children. Gee, that sounds familiar. Mighty Ducks anyone? RIP OFF!

So Guttenberg serves as a handyman at the home for neglected kids, and of course the kids are the usual collection of stereotypes. The fat kid. The short kid. The kid with glasses. The latino kid. The kid who has tons of talent but doesn't want to play. Bad News Bears anyone? RIP OFF!

In an effort to get the kids a little self esteem, the woman who runs the home (who of course is a single, attractive woman - can yous ee where that's leading?) decides they should form a soccer team. Of couse, their first game involves them getting beaten 10-0 by a team that not only features all-star caliber kids, but also a coach so mean and surly and without any semblance of adult social skills, that you'd think he had to win every single game in order to save his sick mother's life. CLICHE!

If this all sounds fairly average for a family sports movie, that's because you can't see in a review just how low grade the production is. You can't tell from my review exactly how terrible the dialogue was written. And you can't watch a strangely puffy Steve Guttenberg trying to be funny, and failing so dismally you want to just walk up to him and whisper in his ear, "Sorry son, you've got nothin' left. You're out of the game."

Of course, a flik this bad wouldn't be complete without 'a message', and Home Team's message is particularly laughable. See, turns out not only is Guttenberg's character a former soccer superstar (in the USA - yeah right), but the reason he was in trouble with the law was that he bet on his team. "I wasn't playing, of course! But they suspended me for life anyway."

Aaw, the poor dear. Let's all run up to him as he's walking off in to the sunset and pile onto him in a big mountain of slightly latent man-boy love, to show him we forgive him for gambling...

Of course, having shown that gamblin on sports is wrong, the Home is later saved by one of its employees gambling on the outcome of the Home Team's big game, so I don't even know what the hell the message was there for in the first place if the movie was going to go ENTIRELY against it in the end.

One thing that had me continually giggling was that this collection of kids were in a home because they either had no parents, or they'd been taken away from their parents, yet when they play soccer, somehow there's 300 people cheering for them on the sidelines, most of them holding balloons, flags and t-shirts in the Home Team's colors. Reebok must be making an absolute fortune selling official team merchandise for orphanage soccer teams these days.

I could bat this unfortunate flick around like a dead mouse for days and not run out of material, but you'd really be wasting your time reading much more than, "Home Team is really crap. It's an affront to film making, it's bad even as a TV movie, it's horrible as a sports movie, and it's apocalyptic for Steve Guttenberg's career. Avoid at all costs, especially if you don't get perverse pleasure from subjecting yourself to woeful TV."

© Copyright HBS Entertainment, Inc.