“Hubie Halloween” stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Maya Rudolph, and Ray Liotta. Released on Netflix on October 7, 2020, the film is about a community volunteer who winds up in a middle of a murder case on Halloween night.
The film is directed by Steven Brill, who also directed films such as “Heavyweights”, “Little Nicky”, “Drillbit Taylor”, and “The Do-Over”. There’s nothing more joyful than spending Halloween with Adam Sandler…said no one ever. The “Sand Man” and his Happy Madison crew are back once again to deliver the laughs on Netflix, whether you like it or not. Not only that, but they’re also delivering the frights this Halloween season, and who doesn’t enjoy a fun scare? If you can’t already tell, Netflix and Sandler pretty much go hand-in-hand when it comes to their projects. While the reviews for these films were downright atrocious, that didn’t stop them from becoming successful with their audience viewings, and it looks like this latest collaboration between Sandler and Steven Brill won’t be that much different. I can admit that his recent comedies weren’t on par with his works from the 90s, but despite that, I’m still rooting for him to be successful, especially after delivering a worthy performance in “Uncut Gems”. The film appears to be going back to the roots of Sandler’s other film “The Waterboy” in terms of his innocent, yet gullible, character routine, but is it enough to make this a solid Halloween treat?
The story follows Hubie Dubois (Sandler), a man who serves as a community service volunteer to make sure that the residents of Salem are celebrating Halloween safely. Hubie loves celebrating the holiday every year even though he’s afraid of everything and has been mocked by almost everyone. This year turns out to be much different than usual when an escaped inmate and a mysterious new neighbor have him on high alert. To make matters worse, the people around him are starting to disappear. It’s up to Hubie to solve the mystery and save his hometown from the terrifying “monsters” that lurk beyond the Salem streets. As expected, this is another typical Sandler comedy that has him fooling around with his fellow co-stars in the most lowbrow way possible, so I can assume that this should be easy for me to talk about. Now you might recall a joke that involves Sandler planning on making the “worst movie ever” if he didn’t get nominated for an Oscar for his performance in “Uncut Gems”. Many have assumed that “Hubie Halloween” might be that movie. I’m sorry, but have any of them seen “Jack & Jill” or “The Ridiculous 6” or even “That’s My Boy”? How could he make something that’s on the same level as those films? Short answer: he can’t. He just can’t. This is one of the films that are made to make people laugh without taking things too seriously, especially during this difficult time, and I highly respect it for attempting to accomplish that goal, even though it won’t get everyone to join in on some spooky silliness. Packed with a plot that’s as bare-bones as a skeleton and plenty of tasteless slapstick, this is neither Sandler’s worst nor his best film so far in his career, but I have to admit that I did have some fun watching it. There were times where the film struggled to blend the comedy with the mean-spiritedness that came from some of the supporting characters. However, it does come packed with a tolerable, yet flawed, story that represents the importance of staying true to yourself despite what other people say or think about you. It’s the type of message that I wish a lot of people can relate to. The cast did the best they could to deliver some fun performances, especially Sandler as Hubie. While I didn’t mind the goofy accent that he’s pulling off, I do feel that some of his freak-outs were pretty phoned in. Other than that, I thought he did fine. It’s just Sandler being Sandler. No harm in that. Kevin James and Steve Buscemi also delivered some good moments as Officer Steve Downing and Walter Lambert (Hubie’s new neighbor) respectively. Another thing I want to mention is the film’s style of humor. As I mentioned before, the humor is what you expect from a Sandler comedy: crude, nonsensical, and kind of gross. If you’re not a fan of his recent brand of humor, I can assure you that this film will make you want to throw all of your Halloween candy at the screen so that it will wind up with cavities. If you actually don’t mind this type of humor, you might find some of its jokes to be quite funny. The humor can be a bit tiring or annoying depending on how much you loathe the mean-spiritedness of some of the supporting characters (or the main character), but it did manage to keep things entertaining by providing a few jokes that were actually amusing. Yes, they can be a bit tasteless and cartoonish at times, but this is something that I would allow because some of them made me laugh.
Overall, “Hubie Halloween” may not have the right materials needed to make this the next Halloween classic or even the next Sandler classic, but it has enough treats in its bowl to satisfy those in need of some goofiness in their lives. Sandler and his friends were once again tolerable in their roles, the film had a good message, and the humor was passable for the most part. However, I’m afraid that those things may not be enough to convince the haters to give Sandler another chance. Nonetheless, I think this is another enjoyable addition to the comedian’s Netflix collection, which means that he hasn’t completed his goal to make the “worst movie ever”. Well, not yet, anyway.