Tag Archives: kevin james

Hubie Halloween

Hubert Dubois is Salem’s official volunteer Halloween helper. Easily startled and frequently frightened, Hubie devotes himself to keeping the holiday safe for everyone, young and old, for which he is openly and mercilessly mocked by all.

This Halloween, armed only with good intentions and his trusty swiss army thermos, Hubie (Adam Sandler) has an extra hefty burden. He’s being bullied by some local high school kids, he suspects his neighbour Walter (Steve Buscemi) is a werewolf, and a psychotic prisoner in a pig costume is on the loose, escaped from a nearby institution. Exasperated with Hubie’s numerous reports, Sgt. Steve (Kevin James) shuts down his concerns, leaving him with only his elderly mother (June Squibb) in a series of suggestive tshirts and his childhood crush, soup-serving Violet (Julie Bowen) as allies.

As with every Adam Sandler movie, many of his friends and a great many of his family join him on set as they film on location in a very quaint-looking Salem, Massachusetts, even if the town’s lengthy history of “bullies” persists. Hubie Halloween reunites Sandler with his Happy Gilmore costar Julie Bowen 24 years after she first played his love interest, Virginia Venit (this time playing Violet Valentine, we see that Sandler’s love of alliteration and the letter V have also withstood the test of time). Also joining them from the cast of Happy Gilmore, Ben Stiller in a cameo playing the exact same character, orderly Hal.

Although Sandler’s movies for Netflix have been more miss than hit, this one is a pleasant exception. It’s just scary enough to qualify as Halloween viewing, but Sandler’s brand of low-brow humour ensures that all but the little ones will be able to watch. Does it reinvent the wheel? Not remotely; it’s merely better inflated than the flat tires his production company has been turning out for some time.

The thrills are mild, the jokes are corny, but it’s a harmless movie that might add some Halloween spirit to your household, and considering many will be refraining from trick-or-treating this year, a movie night is a nice way to celebrate in a safe and socially-distanced way. I think Hubie would approve.

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Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

In my opinion, the Hotel Transylvania franchise is completely devoid of charm, wit, imagination, or life. It’s the barest of bare minimums. It treats children like nitwits and may actually be worsening their little attention spans by assuming they have none.

But if your kids are already attached to this hotel full of monsters, chances are you’re going to have to sit through this one too, so here’s what you’re dealing with: Drac (a vampire voiced by Adam Sandler) manages a hotel for monsters. His daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) shocked the monster community by marrying a human, Johnny (Andy Samberg) and producing a half-human, half-dracula child they inexplicably named Dennis. So that’s basically the first two movies, distilled into two sentences, and let’s faceMV5BY2ZiMWFkZDEtMTgxNy00ZDdkLTlkYzgtYWNlYTcxN2M0NDcwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTc5OTMwOTQ@._V1_ it, with some clever punctuation, it could have been just the one. Anyway. The hotel is populated by various monsters such as Frankenstein (Kevin James) and his lovely wife Eunice (Fran Drescher), Mr & Mrs Werewolf (Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon), the invisible man (David Spade), and a mummy called Murray (Keegan-Michael Key). And in this third installment, Mavis gets it in her head that her dad has devoted his life to perfecting other people’s vacations and deserves one of his own. So somehow the whole gang schleps off to a monster cruise, helmed by the beautiful captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn). Only problem is: Drac has already “zinged” once (“zing” being the monster version of love at first sight, and true love forever, and love being once in a lifetime). So he’s nervous about it, and Mavis is unexpected not that cool with it. But even more worryingly, Drac’s old nemesis Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) might still be after him after decades of cat and mouse. So that’s disappointing.

Spelling it out like this actually makes it seem like this movie has a plot, and I guess it does in the very vaguest of terms. But plot in this case is just filler in between out of the blue musical numbers \ dance sequences where it is clear that a) Sony isn’t shelling out for good or current music and b) the animators are super duper lazy and praying we won’t notice.

Anyway, Hotel Transylvania is as big a snore as the first and second. The only thing it has going for it is a giant puppy named Tinkles, even though he’s criminally and surprisingly effectively disguised by a small hat for most of the movie (which manages to confound all of the grown-ups until it falls off and his true identity is revealed). I was never in danger of laughing. I had low expectations for this movie and it met them – good thing it was the only thing playing at the drive-in.

Sandy Wexler

Sandy Wexler is the latest Adam Sandler comedy to hit Netflix; it’s the third in his ground-breaking four-movie deal with them, and in fact, it has just been announced that he’s re-upped his contract for four more: eight movies total. Like him or not, Adam Sandler’s movies have been consistent money makers. His first two tries on Netflix were absolute garbage so it’s weird to me that Netflix was so eager to extend him. It can only mean one thing: people are watching.

sandy-wexler-teaser-still-510x0And here’s the thing: Sandy Wexler isn’t awful. It’s not great, but it’s way more watchable than his previous Netflix efforts. He plays a 1990s-era show business talent who has a bunch of misfits for clients: a vantriloquist, a contortionist, an actress who never gets hired, a third-rate stand-up comedian who only got one star on Star Search. But then he discovers a woman singing her heart out as the ugly duckling\beautiful swan in a children’s play. Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson plays Courtney, a singer so talented that even her weirdo manager Sandy can’t hamper her rocket to stardom.

Sandler does an annoying Sandler voice for Sandy, but he’s otherwise an interesting character. Socially awkward? Too mild: more like socially clueless. Socially backwards. Adam Sandler has a LOT of famous friends in Hollywood, and they all gather in this movie to say crap things about Sandy Wexler, and it’s kind of hilarious. But as we get to know him, we understand that it’s all true. We laugh at his misfires, and we laugh at the easy, time-period-related jokes (example: Arsenio Hall pops up, quite confident that he’ll be famous forever). There are fantastic 90s-era cameos in this film, and if you have any love for the decade, you’ll no doubt have some appreciate for this. The comedy is cheap though. Bargain bin. If you aren’t a fan of Adam, this is NOT the movie that’s going to change your mind. But if you have a soft spot for his trademark juvenile humour, this is a step in the right direction.


True Memoirs of an International Assassin

truememoirsinternationalassassin-kevinjames-gunContinuing the “proud” tradition of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, True Memoirs of an International Assassin is a movie that is so uninspired, it will make you search for other ways to pass the time.  After about five minutes, Jay started cleaning out our closet and is now showing me shirts I had forgotten I owned.  It turns out I have a lot of nice clothes!

True Memoirs of an International Assassin is not exactly a terrible movie.  It’s just a totally predictable and generic one to the point that it will drive you to housecleaning.  I think there was an attempt at a plot but it just felt like a blend of twenty other better movies, and even those “better” movies weren’t all that great.  This is another tale of South American dictators and guerrillas and druglords and corrupt CIA agents and one man standing up to them for the greater good.  When that one man is Kevin James, it is for some reason harder to swallow than when a fifty-something Harrison Ford did basically the same thing in Clear and Present Danger.  All the imaginary fight sequences in the world couldn’t make me believe that Kevin James could take anyone in a fight.

This movie might have been tolerable if Kevin James had delivered some comedy, of any kind.  Spoiler alert: he doesn’t.  This is not a comedy or a spoof.  It is an action movie starring a comedian which delivers mediocre and forgettable action from start to finish.  There is punching and shooting and jumping out of helicopters and it all feels flat and staged, but since there’s no satire to be found my only option was to try and enjoy the action for what it was.  I didn’t.  Again, it’s just stuff that we’ve all seen in a bunch of other movies, only not as good.

We are now back to rewatching Gilmore Girls in preparation for the reunion shows.  And even though by now I find all the Gilmores completely unbearable (we’re well into season six), at least they are making me laugh.  That’s all I expected from True Memoirs of an International Assassin and I was left wanting.  Don’t bother with this one.


I should have known better than to get my hopes up.  Mediocrity is as good as we have gotten from Adam Sandler and Kevin James over the last five years plus, and even that “height” has been rarely obtained.  But then the Pixels trailer hit and tapped into that latent 80s kid vibe that Wreck-It-Ralph and Ready Player One both nailed, and I suddenly had this irrational hope that this movie would make me feel the same way, despite who was behind it.

But this movie about a world threatened by 80s videogames is not a disaster movie; it’s just a disaster.  There are a few laughs but it’s awful to see how badly the movie wasted its concept.  This could have, and should have, been something fun.  It was a great summer movie idea.   Instead, 95% of the funny parts are in the three minute trailer.  They got me a few other times with stupid stuff but mainly I was just thinking about how this seemed to have all been thrown together in a week, and how much the writers must have hated the source material to not even try to have any fun with it (really, it’s like they didn’t even watch a Wreck-It-Ralph trailer, let alone the movie).

To say much more would be to give the movie too much of my energy, so I’ll just paraphrase Billy Madison’s high school principal and say I am now dumber for having watched this movie, I award Pixels three 80s videogame points out of ten, and may god have mercy on Adam Sandler’s soul.

Paul Blarts: Mall Cops 1 & 2

 It should be wonderful when a sequel tops its predecessor. Think Godfather 2 or Empire Strikes Back. It’s a very rare occurrence, and you would think anytime it happens the sequel would be memorable, since if a sequel got greenlit the original movie must have been decent at least, right? If you felt safe making that assumption, like I did, now is the time to reconsider. Because Kevin James and Adam Sandler have gone out of their way to prove us all wrong.

I did not see Paul Blart 1 until Friday. I didn’t try to avoid it at the time but did not expect it to be much good. And I was okay with it being mediocre and also with seeing it at some point. So that point was two days ago. It was surprisingly not funny. Like I was just supposed to sort of cheer for Paul because he was the main guy. I think? It was more confusing than anything, really, as to why this mediocre idea didn’t even get to the mediocre level.

And if they had stopped at one there would have been nothing more to say. It wrapped up, Paul Blart won, he foiled all the bad guys and got the girl. So he could stop being sad and start being a more respected mall cop. Or something, I mean, it didn’t seem like he had more story to tell. But then, six years after that, for some reason a sequel got made.

There can’t have been anyone asking for a sequel. I don’t know how anyone could have thought this was a good idea. But here we are, with Paul Blart 2 playing this week at the drive in. We hadn’t been in a while because we’ve been busy, and we were semi-free, and it was a nice night, so really, it didn’t matter what was playing.

Paul Blart 2 is pretty much Paul Blart 1. I think if anything everyone was a little more practiced, like the first was a dress rehearsal for the second, so the second turned out a bit more polished. The second one is a slightly better movie, just comparing them straight up. But it is still mediocre at best. If it’s at your local drive in then go. Or you could consider it as an option on a plane, I mean, I’d probably rewatch Jurassic World instead but maybe it can be your 3rd or 4th option if your flight is crossing the Pacific Ocean. That’s about the best thing I can say about Paul Blart 2: it’s slightly better than the first one but it is probably not as good as rewatching something you already saw and liked.

I will give this franchise a combined rating of half a segway out of two. Because there’s probably a supercut of these two movies that might be entertaining but even then I think I would be better off rewatching Jurassic World and Mad Max: Fury Road and Inside Out and Furious 7 on my next plane ride (and since it’s to San Francisco that’s more than enough to fill my flight).