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Hubie Halloween Review – An Impassioned Defense of Adam Sandler’s New Netflix Movie
It’s not even 60 seconds into Hubie Halloween when Ben Stiller enters the frame. He might as well have walked in from 2004, sporting an XL version of his Dodgeball mustache. In that tee hee, heh heh villain voice Stiller does, he quips at some psych hospital patient, buried under bed sheets. The line?
“Did you go pee-pee while you sleepy?”
My muscles instantly relaxed. Every single one. I can’t explain it. If you were to ask 100 different writers to draw up that insult, pee-pee + sleepy would be the most basic, id-driven entry of the batch. But it’s a classic. The joke you make when little Caleb spills his Capri-Sun all over his khakis at the lunch table. The joke you make when, later that week, little Caleb actually lets it flow because you were all in a fire drill and Ms. Olsen told him to JUST WAIT. No thinking. Just laughing. He pissed himself! (It’s a bit Hubie Halloween gloriously returns to, by the way.)
After growing up on Adam Sandler movies, but giving up on Adam Sandler movies circa You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, I gotta say: Hubie Halloween is the best comfort watch that’s released since March.
Naturally, Hubie Halloween—which hit Netflix on Wednesday—is Sandman’s follow-up to what might just be the most critically-acclaimed performance of his career, as the manic-episoded jeweler Howard Ratner. Hubie Halloween follows Hubert Dubois, who has all the affectations of a vintage Sandler character—a voice you can only decipher with subtitles, a manchild oblivious to just about everything. (In Hubie Halloween, it’s the precise meaning of boner.) He’s a longtime resident of Salem, MA, who has assumed a sort of neon-vested traffic cop role during Halloween—encouraging do-goodery, not taking one too many Baby Ruths from the candy pot. Salem residents start mysteriously disappearing, and boom, there’s your movie.
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It’s not special. It’s not clever. Essentially, it’s the same thing Sandler has been doing since he rose to comedy fame in the ’90s. Fish out of water (Billy Madison), a meta plot for the galaxy-brained among us (Funny People) and big, big ol’ farts (many to choose from, but let’s go with the Click ripper that likely gave David Hasselhoff pink eye). But, in a time when humor constitutes laughing at the presidential debates—a laugh you laugh knowing that you’re only laughing because it’s all so damn fucked—a booster shot of Sandler and friends might just take you away from this planet for about two hours.
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Hubie Halloween, genuinely, has quite a few bits that you’d have to fight pretty damn hard to not enjoy. (Or, at the very least, appreciate.) The running bit that several Salem residents dressed up as Suicide Squad’s Hot Topic Harley Quinn. Hubie’s mom rotates thrift-shop graphic tees throughout the joint. (“I Shaved My Balls For This?”) Hubie’s ghost costume, which, um, has a couple stains. All the Sandlerites are there, too. Kevin James showing up as a mulleted Paul Blart. Rob Schneider, yes, freely and willingly pisses his pants. The best part of Hubie Halloween, really, is Steve Buscemi playing a friendly, and only slightly spazzy, werewolf.
Hubie Halloween might not be your jam. But there’s a comfort in the knee-jerk, most-common-demoninator laugh. Maybe we didn’t quite need the diversion as much in the ’90s. But we sure as hell do now. There’s a reason Sandler is still around, 30 years after his Saturday Night Live! debut. Sandler’s comedy is the kind that makes you chuckle after a few drinks, or at least stop giving a shit about what other people think of your taste in humor. It’s a guy ending up with the grade school sweetheart who’s way out of the league, the last-act moral lesson reminding you to, you know, be nice, and the farts, and the burps, and the smacks to the head along the way.
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