I mean, it’s definitely not the worst thing he’s done.
Hubie Dubois (Adam Sandler) is a deli worker and the local loser of Salem, Massachusetts. Every Halloween, Hubie takes it upon himself to be the town monitor to ensure that Salem enjoys a safe and happy Halloween. This, naturally, gets him mocked by everyone from the local rich jerk (Ray Liotta) to the principal (Tim Meadows) and his wife (Maya Rudolph) to the local policeman (Kevin James) to his own junior co-worker (Karar Brar). Only local hot-girl-turned-hot-woman Violet Valentine (Julie Bowen) stands up for him. Unfortunately, this year, an escaped mental patient (Rob Schneider) and a possible wolfman (Steve Buscemi) threaten the celebrations and it’s up to Hubie to stop them.
Did you guys watch Uncut Gems? That movie where Adam Sandler plays a man who keeps having to live on the edge and risk it all because he just can’t be happy otherwise? I think that character was based on Sandler, except that Sandler keeps wanting to test exactly how little effort that he can put forward in order to get a movie to get more watches than the average Best Picture Winner. At least that’s how I explain Jack and Jill and The Ridiculous 6. This movie is not as bad as those, mostly because this movie tries to pull much of its style and humor from Sandler’s older work like The Waterboy, but it suffers from the fact that, at 54 years old, it’s harder to consider Sandler a viable scrappy young outsider. Also, his performance which had previously been the oddball has now devolved into the person who clearly has been avoiding any attempts at maturing. The movie attempts to justify it by saying that Hubie is sweet and honest, but you can be both of those things without being the level of awkward and off-putting that Hubie is. It becomes even more bizarre because the film depicts him as simultaneously socially inept but also hyper competent. I’d say that it’s a form of autism, but since most of the movie’s “humor” is laughing at Hubie’s inherent awkwardness, I’d like to dissociate the performance with any real human conditions.
The film is a needlessly complicated mess at times as an attempt to conceal the “mystery” of what is actually threatening the town. Hubie also randomly encounters minor sub-plots that require him to pull out his “Swiss Army thermos,” one of the most ridiculous conceits in an Adam Sandler film. It’s a thermos that can do anything the scene requires, from vacuum cleaner to grappling hook, and yet somehow the rest of the movie is pretty grounded in reality. The fact that Hubie built something that defies all practical engineering should have made him wealthy and famous, but everyone chooses to ignore the literal magic bag he holds. The film also suffers from the Sandler trope that the most beautiful woman in the area is already in love with him for no reason.
Despite all of these problems, it’s nowhere near the bottom of the barrel for an Adam Sandler production. The cast is filled with talented people who are somehow able to pull a laugh every now and then out of even the most inane lines or scenarios. Sandler himself has several quality moments, mostly when he’s trying to be sincere rather than goofy. The end of the film was actually one of the more surprisingly wholesome ones we’ve seen and it does have a pretty decent message.
Overall, I still would recommend watching something else, but if you’re an Adam Sandler fan, this will make your Halloween spooktacular.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.