Sandler, pals celebrate the season in ‘Hubie Halloween’

Adam Sandler and Julie Bowen in Hubie Halloween / Netflix

I wouldn’t dare argue that the latest Adam Sandler film “Hubie Halloween” is a “good movie.” It’s not. Sandler’s Netflix comedy only barely makes sense, and that may be a stretch.

The movie is the very definition of well-shot schlock.

However, I did have fun watching this mess, which was more endearing than actually funny. The movie is in the same vein of the 1998 Sandler hit “The Waterboy,” just not quite as tight or funny.

Hubie is another of Sandler’s weird-talking, simpleton characters with a heart of gold, whom you either find funny or not. This time instead of being obsessed with serving water, Hubie, a butcher who lives in Salem, Mass., is fixated on making sure everyone has a safe and happy Halloween with an emphasis on safe. He’s basically the self-appointed hall monitor for the holiday, whom a klatch of townspeople — young and old — enjoy tormenting for his social awkwardness.

Now, if this was a “serious” horror movie, Hubie would no doubt go on a serial-killer rampage against his bullies and grind them up into hamburger meat. However, this isn’t that kind of movie, although the film does involve a plot to roast some of the not-so-nice townsfolk on the stake, which Hubie halts, Scooby-Doo style.

Horror movie fans will notice dozens of nods to classics like “Halloween,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Scream,” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” among others.

Like most of Sandler’s comedies, the movie features a familiar cast of comedians and buddies of Sandler such as Kevin James, Rob Schneider, Kenan Thompson, Maya Rudolph, Tim Meadows, Michael Chiklis, George Wallace, Ray Liotta, Shaquille O’Neal, Dan Patrick, and Steve Buscemi, most playing horror movie stereotypes. While the movie only flirts with mediocrity, Sandler and his pals probably had a blast making it.

Julie Bowen is somewhat wasted as Hubie’s love interest, but June Squibb turns in a fun performance as his elderly mom. Be sure to pay attention to the messages on her thrift-store T-shirts. They are the funniest gags in the movie.

While the plot is sparse and too many of the set-ups flop, the movie’s endearing love and celebration of all that makes Halloween such a fun holiday wore me down and won me over.

While I wouldn’t suggest it across the board, if you like Sandler, Halloween, and gross-out humor, you might have some fun with “Hubie Halloween.”

(PG-13) 1 hr. 42 min.
Grade: C-

New In Local Movie Theaters

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Classic Corner – Total Recall

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone in Total Recall / Columbia/TriStar Pictures

Playing at: Malco Razorback
(R) 1 hr. 53 min.

Arnold Schwarzenegger never was confused as a thespian, but he was one of the biggest movie stars from the mind 1980s through the 1990s, and the 30th anniversary re-release of his sci-fi flick “Total Recall” is evidence why.

The film plays at 3 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Malco Razorback.

Directed by Paul Verhoeven, the movie is a perfect blend of sci-fi, action and Arnie that continues to hold up 30 years later.

Loosely based off the Philip K. Dick novella “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” the movie is the perfect vehicle for Schwarzenegger’s star appeal and action chops. He plays a construction worker employed on a futuristic outpost on Mars who becomes embroiled in an espionage plot that leaves him in danger as he learns the life he has been living is a lie.

The movie features a memorable, yet smallish performance by Sharon Stone as Arnie’s wife, as well as solid although stereotypical heel performances by Michael Ironside and Ronny Cox.

The bold art direction gives the movie set in the near future an authentic but still imaginative setting that fits the fast-paced film’s penchant for violence, gore, and humor. The movie is more than just a thrill-ride. It’s semi-complex plot concerning identity lifts the film above the bargain basement sci-fi or action flick.

Friday Night Frights on TCM

Each Friday this month Turner Classic Movies is serving up a buffet of horror classics in celebration of Halloween. Tonight’s four-film theme is “Back from the Grave.”

The Ghoul — 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9
Boris Karloff made a name for himself playing the Frankenstein’s monster in three movies for Universal Studios in the 1930s. He also starred in 1933’s “The Mummy” for the studio, but perhaps his creepiest and scariest role in the 1930s was in the British film “The Ghoul,” where he play an Egyptologist who rises from the dead to punish the men who betrayed him.

Though not as popular or as iconic as Karloff’s work for Universal, “The Ghoul,” directed by T. Hayes Hunter and also starring Ernest Thesiger, whom some might know as Dr. Pretorius from “The Bride of Frankenstein; Cedric Hardwicke, and Ralph Richardson is a frightfully fun movie if you are a Karloff fan who has seen his Frankenstein films one too many times.

Also on tap this Friday night are “The Black Sleep” at 8:30 p.m., starring Basil Rathbone as an evil surgeon who uses townsfolk as practice subjects; “Mark of the Vampire at 10 p.m., starring Bela Lugosi as a vampire in the 1935 remake of the lost Lon Chaney, silent movie “London after Midnight,” (1927), and finally “Night of the Living Dead” at 11:30 p.m., the 1968 George Romero fright fest that raised zombies from the bottom of the monster-movie food chain to near the top.