Even the biggest Adam Sandler fan has to admit that not every at-bat is a homerun. This has been particularly true of his Netflix tenure. The smaller stakes nature of Netflix exhibition has at times allowed Sandler to try fun ideas that would never make it to the big screen (Sandy Wexler) but also get away with lazier executions (The Do-Over).
The newly released Hubie Halloween falls somewhere in the middle. There isn’t much to it, overall, but it’s also one of the funniest recent Adam Sandler films thanks to a star-studded cast of folks getting weird with it and an admirable commitment to running gags. It won’t convert any Sandler haters, but fans should definitely check this one out. In fact, I have counted the reasons why you should check it out. There are eight of them.
You’re always in for a better Sandler comedy if he does a goofy voice because if nothing else, it means you’re not stuck with Sandler as an everyman character who plays straight man to a host of goofballs. Hubie Dubois utilizes a voice we’ve heard Sandler use a hundred times, just a bit slower. Put on your closed captioning because he’s sometimes hard to understand.
Ben Stiller’s Return
Hubie Halloween has quite a few references to Sandler’s masterpieces Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore. By far the best is Ben Stiller’s return as the orderly Hal. While just a cameo, it’s a delight seeing him again, especially when he gets to chirp a line like “You go pee-pee in your sleepy?”
Ray Liotta’s Halloween Costume
Honestly, Ray Liotta doesn’t need to be in this movie (you could probably say the same of Michael Chiklis), but he adds manic energy to his few scenes. So sure, why not? His character’s best bit, however, arrives when we see him in his Halloween costume, which is just his character’s regular outfit but with a clown wig for no real reason. It’s truly an inspiration for lazy Halloween-goers everywhere.
So Hubie is the town loser. Everywhere he goes, people throw things at him. This running joke gets introduced early on as Hubie takes his first bike ride through town. A kid throws a few eggs at him and – totally unfazed – he catches them in his magical thermos, shakes it up and gulps it down “Rocky Balboa style.” It’s a classic Sandler bit as it shows how his imbecile character actually has some unexpected talent. But then he immediately vomits the eggs, allowing it to be a gross-out joke as well.
June Squibb’s T-Shirts
As Hubie’s Mom (for real, that’s her character’s IMDB name), June Squibb is just the sweetest old lady who wants nothing but the best for her lonely son. So it’s extra funny how each time we see her, she’s wearing a different crude shirt she bought without understanding their meaning. It’s a running sight gag that never gets old, though it peaks with the third iteration.
Dot is an older lady who dresses a bit like an Amish person and doesn’t appear in the film’s credits for some reason. She just pops up every now and then. At one point she appears right after a conversation between Sandler and Julie Bowen simply to add the button “I’m asexual but that girl’s making me hella horny,” and it singlehandedly represents why I can never stop watching Adam Sandler movies.
“Hubie Doobie… careful”
That’s it. Just that line. When you hear it, you’ll know. It isn’t much sitting there on a computer screen, but the way Maya Rudolph delivers this dad joke is a thing of comic beauty. Really any scene between Maya Rudolph and Tim Meadow’s wig is great, but this is easily the film’s best line read.
Not to make people mad, but short of the Coen Brothers, has anyone better utilized Steve Buscemi than Adam Sandler? Here Buscemi is extra manic and extra weird and extra friendly as he portrays a very nice man who may actually be a lycanthrope. Believe it or not, it all leads to a surprisingly good two-hander scene between Buscemi and Rob Sneider. For real.
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