Hubie Halloween

Hubie Halloween

Dept. of Sandlerian Silliness


This isn’t it ladies and gentlemen. This isn’t the movie that Adam Sandler promised he’d give us when he told Howard Stern how he would get back at the Academy if they snubbed him at last year’s Oscars. “If I don’t get it, I’m going to fucking come back and do one again that is so bad on purpose just to make you all pay. That’s how I get them.”

Don’t get me wrong, Hubie Halloween is a movie so slow, so boring, so painfully unfunny that it always feels like you’re 45 minutes from the end. It just isn’t Adam Sandler’s worst movie. Yes, the whole thing was probably written on the back of a napkin by two drunk guys in Birkenstocks, but it is nowhere nearly as pointless as Jack & Jill, or Pixels, or The Ridiculous 6.

This is a movie that thinks a big Black guy (Shaquille O’Neal) who speaks like a sultry woman is funny. This is a movie that is sure you’ll laugh every time someone makes fun of Hubie’s name. This is a movie that doubles down on Adam Sandler’s penchant for screaming. (It is Halloween after all.) But unlike, say The Do-Over, Hubie Halloween at least has its heart in the right place.

When it comes to Adam Sandler movies, our usual notions of worth are often insufficient. A “good Adam Sandler movie” doesn’t really mean quite the same thing as a “good movie.” It becomes a relative judgement. One that is qualified by everything he’s done before, and everything he might do in the future, as well as his occasional digressions into movies like Punch Drunk Love and Uncut Gems. The fact that Hubie Halloween gets credit for not being godawful should tell you everything you need to know about this movie.

Hubie Halloween

You know Hubie. You’ve seen him at least a dozen times before. The loser with a speech impediment that everyone in the movie hates on except his mother. The gurning idiot who, by virtue of his oppressive niceness, is obsessed over by some blonde or other. Why? Well, it doesn’t really matter. By now, you can tell by the face that Adam Sandler is making on the poster just what kind of movie you’re going to get. And Hubie is just a version of the same man-child that he’s been playing since Billy Madison.

So it’s Halloween in Salem, it’s Hubie’s favourite day of the year, and as the town’s self-appointed protector, he’s got a lot to handle with escaped mental patients, a neighbour who thinks he’s a werewolf, and missing townsfolk. This thinnest of plots is stretched out over 102 long minutes and padded with the slightest of sight gags and the usual cameos.

This is a movie in which everything happens and nothing happens. Stuffed to the gills with great actors that deserve better, it is like almost every other Adam Sandler project. It is an excuse for him to get together with his closest friends and have some fun. I’m just not sure why Netflix continues to think that the rest of us should be subjected to Sandler’s incredibly expensive home videos.

Hubie Halloween

The big bads in this movie aren’t your usual Halloween monsters but the everyday bullies that often plague our lives. They come in every shape, size, gender, and colour, and often lash out in order to hide their own crippling insecurities. This movie insists that “being nice matters.” Even to those to wish to harm you. And while Hubie Halloween means well in this regard, it feels tragically misplaced in today’s America. Just sit back and take it, continue to turn the other cheek, and it’s possible that your tormentors will see the error of their ways and become better people.

Hubie Halloween elevates lack of action and agency to a fine art. Though I’m not sure that’s the message you want your kids taking away, especially in a world that’s littered with bullies. Both real and virtual.

Hubie Halloween

Hubie Halloween is utterly disposable. It is unlikely to make you laugh and is about as satisfying as the sugar free vegan shit that the annoying hippie on your street insists on giving out to trick-or-treaters. Why Netflix continues to add to its abyss of corporate debt by making movies like this is beyond me. But then again, when it comes to these Happy Madison movies, quality has become anathema to success.

By the end of this week, Hubie Halloween will end up being number one on Netflix’s Top 10. No doubt making way for a slew of similar sequels. Chuck Christmas anyone? Harry Hari Raya? How about Deepak Deepavali? As for me, I’m waiting for the eventual female led reboot that is Gong Li Fa Cai.

Hubie Halloween
102 minutes
Director: Steven Brill
Writers: Adam Sandler and Tim Herlihy
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Rob Schneider, June Squibb, Kenan Thompson, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Buscemi, and Maya Rudolph

Hubie Halloween is now streaming on Netflix.

Uma has been reviewing things for most of his life: movies, television shows, books, video games, his mum's cooking, Bahir's fashion sense. He is a firm believer that the answer to most questions can be found within the cinematic canon. In fact, most of what he knows about life he learned from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He still hasn't forgiven Christopher Nolan for the travesties that are Interstellar and The Dark Knight Rises.

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