Is Adam Sandler The New Ernest?
While a lot of us haven't been super-psyched for a new Adam Sandler comedy since before Timothee Chalamet was potty-trained, we have to admit that we're cautiously optimistic about Sandler's latest project Hubie Halloween. Maybe it's because the new Netflix movie looks as pleasantly autumnal as a pumpkin spice-flavored cable knit sweater, or perhaps at this point, we're excited for any new film that isn't about a bloated Russell Crowe randomly going berserk.
When the trailer first revealed that Hubie Halloween features a town outcast contending with supernatural forces on All Hallows' Eve, it naturally prompted comparisons to the '90s classic Ernest Scared Stupid, which found loveable simpleton Ernest P. Worrell battling demonic trolls at a Halloween party. Ernest eventually defeats the trolls Huey Lewis-style, using the power of love. His kiss causes the head troll to explode -- making us wonder if this wasn't all an elaborate metaphor for one of the screenwriters' failed relationships.
So ... does this mean that Adam Sandler is the new Ernest?
While he doesn't exactly play the same character every time, Sandler is still usually a familiar dope who finds himself in a high-concept predicament or exotic location, not unlike Ernest -- albeit with a staggeringly attractive wife and shorts so baggy they could be used for parasailing. Looking back at Jim Varney's Ernest filmography, most movies seem to have a direct counterpart in the Sandler canon. Ernest Goes to School came out just one year before Billy Madison, for example.
They both have holiday movies, Ernest Saves Christmas and Eight Crazy Nights. Then there's Ernest Goes to Jail -- well, Sandler also did hard time in The Longest Yard. Ernest went to Africa? So did Sandler, and both outings were both criticized for problematic depictions of Black characters. One review likened Sandler's rom-com Blended to a "minstrel show" while Ernest Goes to Africa was labeled the "most racist kid's movie ever made."
Sandler's main rival for the title of 21st Century Ernest is Tyler Perry, whose Madea movies tick a lot of the same boxes; Halloween, Christmas, and even a movie where the titular character "goes to jail." Let's just say whoever makes a summer camp-based comedy first is truly the inheritor of the Ernest crown -- which is less of a crown, and more of a tattered old cap.
Top Image: Netflix/Touchstone Pictures