Adam Sandler owes Halloween, October, Autumn, Salem, and all of us, an apology.
While promoting his movie Uncut Gems (2019) – check out my review, here – Adam Sandler was confident that he was going to earn an Oscar nomination for his performance. In fact, he was so confident the nomination would be his that he was quoted as saying, “If I don’t get it, I’m going to f-king come back and do one again that is so bad on purpose just to make you all pay.” Well, Sandler didn’t get the nomination (snubbed, in my opinion) and as a result, he’s given the world his newest Netflix comedy, Hubie Halloween (2020). Unfortunately, Sander is a man of his word. This movie was pretty terrible. The most upsetting part though is that it didn’t need to be. There are times when Hubie Halloween shows potential but is so tainted by Sandler’s vengeance, that it becomes borderline unwatchable. The abundance of fart, pee, and poo jokes do little to help. Sigh… why did Sander have to take his frustrations out on my favourite holiday?
Hubie Halloween follows Hubie Dubois, a man living in Salem, Massachusetts who is constantly bullied by the townspeople. When people begin mysteriously disappearing on Halloween night, Hubie sets out to protect the townspeople from the dangers that threaten Salem.
Even before I clicked play, I had a horrible premonition that this movie was going to be just the worst. Partly because of Sandler’s decree to intentionally make a bad movie, and partly because the trailer promised Hubie Halloween would be filled with all the elements that have made Sandler’s comedies in the last decade thoroughly unbearable: unnecessarily bizarre speaking voices, forced toilet humour, and lame cameos from Sandler’s friends. The first three minutes alone feature Sandler’s weird choice of a speaking voice, a Ben Stiller cameo where he talks about pee, and then a shot of Sandler throwing up. I swear to God, I was ridiculously close to tapping out before the five minute mark. In real life Sandler seems like he has a great sense of humour who clearly has a lot of talented friends. So why is he so incapable of making a halfway decent comedy? Why not utilize the talent involved and make actors like Kenan Thompson, Kym Whitley, and Michael Chiklis main characters instead of reducing them to exhausting, ham-fisted cameos? Honestly, I found myself questioning the reasoning behind so many of the bonkers choices made in Hubie Halloween more often than actually watching the movie.
Marketed as a “comedy horror,” Hubie Halloween fails at pulling off either genre. Nothing even remotely comedic or horrific happens during the slow-moving hour and a half. Which is a shame because I LOVE Halloween movies like Hocus Pocus (1993) – check out my review, here – that manage to be silly, spooky, and an all-around entertaining seasonal delight. One of the biggest problems with Hubie Halloween is that it’s just so poorly executed. It’s not possible for a movie to be so lazy. The script is worse than garbage. It’s not even trying. It hardly even feels like a movie. It’s like a crappy YouTube video a bunch of friends might have made back in 2007. Think of the laziest, most obvious, tired jokes that have never been funny and certainly aren’t funny today, and Hubie Halloween goes for them. Seriously, the amount of pee jokes is staggering.
Believe it or not but despite all the horribleness of Hubie Halloween, there are actually a few times where the movie shows potential. Unlike past Sandler movies like, Grown Ups (2010) or Just Go with It (2011) which are pointless and deplorable, the heart of this movie is in the right place. It attempts a sweet overall message, and if handled more competently, the premise could have been capable of generating some genuine laughs and thrills. It’s certainly not the worst Sandler movie I’ve ever seen, but you get the feeling Sandler wasn’t even trying and was more than okay with letting the quality of the movie suffer. If about 50 per cent more effort had been put into the script and the acting, this could have been a delightful Halloween treat. With some editing, this could have been a really fun movie. Seeing the lack of effort and the wasted potential is just sad.
Hubie Halloween has all the cinematic cinematic quality of a Nickelodeon direct-to-DVD release. Which is appropriate considering how juvenile the movie is as a whole. Thoroughly uninteresting and at times, just plain dumb, you could plant a five-year-old in front of this movie and they’d have no trouble sitting through it. If this were a movie made specifically for a child or teen audience, it would have been significantly more bearable. Especially if it were a younger protagonist. Having the protagonist be a man in his 50s feels out of place for this movie. Why is he constantly inserting himself into the lives of teenagers? Why does the whole town bully and berate a perfectly nice man who only helps others? Because he has a speech impediment? Because he lives with his mother? Does Sandler believe that choosing to have a speech impediment and make his character live with his mother make him inherently funnier and to an extent, bullyable? I’m sorry to raise so many questions, but that’s what Hubie Halloween will do to you. It’ll make you go, “why is any of this happening?” At least 90 per cent of the movie is dedicated to townspeople bullying Hubie and with only 30 minutes of movie left, the only spooky thing that had happened was that someone disappeared. Again, the lack of effort is shocking.
Honestly, I expected much much worse from Hubie Halloween. It’s still a borderline unwatchable movie that feels like a reject from 2003, and multiple plot points either go nowhere or could have been eliminated entirely, but somehow, it’s still not as terrible as I was expecting. There were some highs like the astounding production design that is every Halloween fan’s dream come true, but then there are some lows like Shaquille O’Neal’s acting. Honestly, the only reason I would recommend this movie is if you want to see how low the quality of Sandler’s humour can sink. That’s the only scary thing about this movie.
Will you check out Hubie Halloween?
Let me know in the comments or on social media!