Friday, November 27, 2020

Hubie Halloween


(Netflix, 2020) Someone I admire has created a chart of all of the defining recurring attributes (in plot, casting, specific jokes etc.) that appear in Adam Sandler movies (featuring him, or from his production company), attributing point values to each one. For example, an out of his league love interest, typical for many male stars, earns a low point value, while having Rob Schneider portray a non-Caucasian character is such an Sandlerverse staple, and something other producers would wisely never consider, that it yields a bunch of points. Casting Steve Buscemi gets a point (any filmmaker would be lucky to land him), but casting Alan Covert, a personal Sandler pal with a lengthy IMDB page that ONLY features Sandler movies (plus one appearance in Sandler's former roommate Judd Apatow's first movie back in 1995) is a jackpot of points. This project was conceived basically to create a pandemic activity: close watches and rewatches of the dozens of Sandler/Happy Madison Production titles, and debates about scoring (does it count when Schneider plays Filipino -which he actually is? Yes Does it count when the character Schneider mystically body switches with subsequently non-mystically pretends to be a Mexican gardener? No.) Anyhow, Hubie Halloween did not gain the most points (the project is still in progress, but it's nowhere near  I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry or Grown Ups), but it certainly seems to have been made with a goal of being Ultimate Sandler. While that might be scary prospect to some, this film really demonstrates all the most positive point earners (underdog becomes a hero to many), few of the most odious (Schneider does appears as a mental patient, but not as a racist caricature), and none of the laziest (Adam never just wears his own clothes). It also pays homage to his most beloved movies, by having Ben Stiller call back his villain from Happy Gilmore; Sandler speak in way that is recalls his odd Cajun accent from The Waterboy, that makes some sense considering his name is DuBois (which makes less sense since his character is overtly Jewish in the movie [1 point]); and we even meet relatives of some of Billy Madison's rivals. Also Julie Bowen tries her very best to justify a VERY out of league love connection, and Covert only makes an innocuous cameo (as opposed to a five minute shot of him soaping his ass in Mr. Deeds). Laughs and good stuff abound, including Buscemi shining as a neighborly wolfman, Adam weaponizing a near magical thermos, and less bathroom humor than a Disney show. If you do decide to force yourself to watch hundreds of hours of cinema that happens to include cringy David Spade vehicles, snail-paced Netflix originals, Deuce Bigalow 2, and testicle joke upon testicle joke, you truly appreciate when a breezy, silly, funny entry racks up the pleasant points.

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