In a sentence you don’t hear very often, Adam Sandler was generating some early Academy Awards buzz for his phenomenal performance in Uncut Gems, another rare reminder that underneath the formulaic comedy and lack of originality found in most of his work, the 54 year-old is a brilliant talent when handed more challenging material.
He may not have scored an Oscar nod, but he did win the Best Actor prize at the Independent Spirit and National Board of Review ceremonies, and even joked in his acceptance speech that his nominees would have to live with the fact that they lost to Adam Sandler. Around the same time, the Happy Madison boss issued an ominous threat as well that if Uncut Gems didn’t lead to Oscar glory, he’d set out to make a terrible movie on purpose.
His next release was Netflix’s Hubie Halloween, which isn’t even the worst film he’s ever been in never mind the worst ever made, but a new theory is nonetheless claiming that the completely unoriginal and hopelessly uninspired comedy is Sandler seeking revenge after being overlooked for Uncut Gems.
As ScreenRant explains:
Hubie Halloween is precisely formulated based on what has worked for Sandler before, acting almost like a greatest hits rundown of the lowest critically received points of his career. He plays a schlub mocked for his lack of traditional career motivation, whose apparent limits hide his inner goodness and who ends up with the girl of his dreams and crowned the hero. There’s gross-out and slapstick humor, an illogical Shaquille O’Neal cameo, and roles for at least two characters – Kevin James and Rob Schneider – that seem to exist solely for the sake of their wigs. That’s the extent of the jokes in both cases. There may be heart, but it’s all identikit Sandler fare and feels so consciously like the intentional antithesis of Uncut Gems that it’s like Sandler wanted to make it bad on purpose to prove some sort of point. Sadly, it’s not really proving a good one because it will still be incredibly popular.
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Of course, you can instantly blow this theory to smithereens when you realize that Hubie Halloween finished shooting last summer, months before either Uncut Gems was released or Sandler threatened to unleash deliberate cinematic terrors upon an unsuspecting world, so in reality, his next project is really the one that we should be worried about.
No self-respecting talent sets out to make bad movies on purpose, and Sandler clearly has a massive built-in audience, but his preferred method of filmmaking sees him much happier to gather his close friends together and have a good time rather than chase critical acclaim or awards season glory, and the approach has worked wonders for him so far.