The film saw Sandler break his pattern of playing shallow, unrelatable,unfunny and even crass characters which marked his recent comedic works, and revert back to his roots
Last Updated: 06.30 AM, Jan 31, 2022
Most audiences seem to have a soft spot when it comes to the ‘little guy’ trope in film and television. You know the likes, an ordinary person, mostly sweet in demeanour and unambitious in nature; whose film version finds themselves not facing off against dire circumstances or adventurous quests, but dealing with their own uniquely personal problems brought about by virtue of who they are as a person. They are mostly eccentric, dealt with the short end of the straw when it comes to life, and doomed to live life in their own jaded way until something spurs them on to change. And there are few stars who have perfected the trope as Adam Sandler has.
Be it a struggling musician who hijacks a radio station; an unambitious loafer who is thrust into fatherhood; a childish water boy or a charming wedding singer; Sandler earned himself the adoration of fans through his ability to emulate down-to-earth characters who were both interesting and relatable. And for fans who came to know of and love Sandler through such characters, his more recent comedic work would set themselves up as huge disappointments.
Although the star did have hits to his name in the past decade in the form of Hotel Transylvania and Uncut Gems, his comedic filmography was marred by painfully unfunny films which saw him essay characters who were a sharp contrast to his earlier ones. One among them, Jack and Jill, is considered to be one of the worst films of his career and earned the star a string of Golden Raspberry Awards, which are given to films considered the worst of the year.
In 2021 came Hubie Halloween, and long-time Sandler fans could spot something different in the film, something that made it different from his recent work but oddly familiar to his roots. The Netflix film tells the story of Hubie, an eccentric, kind and well-meaning young man who is a victim of incessant bullying from his townspeople. Every Halloween he takes it upon himself to patrol his city, making sure nothing goes wrong. One year people inexplicably start going missing in the town, and Hubie takes it upon himself to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Hubie Halloween is reminiscent of Sandler’s films in a myriad of ways. He is an underdog, who is constantly underestimated and ignored by people around him. When he isn’t ignored, he is the victim of constant bullying and practical jokes, mostly at the hands of people he has history with. But despite the constant harassment, Hubie bears no ill will towards his bullies; in fact he considers the protection of his townspeople his solemn duty and goes out of his way to make sure of that no matter the danger. And in the end, his resourcefulness and courage pay off in the best of ways. From his idealism to his innocence, Hubie shares more than a few traits to Sandler’s earliest silver screen personas.
Sandler also seemed to be paying homage to his past characters that brought him where he is today through Hubie’s mannerisms and cadence. From the moment he speaks, fans would see similarities between Hubie and Bobby Boucher, the latter the protagonist of the 1998 film, The Waterboy. The pair share similarities in several ways beyond that as well, and perhaps it was a conscious decision on Sandler’s part to do so.
Granted, the film could not wow critics as much, but fans of the star certainly appreciated how the film brought back Sandler’s much-loved oddball, goofy trope of protagonists.
Hubie Halloween is available to stream on Netflix.