“Hubie Halloween”- Movie Review
We were warned. The sign was there, hanging in neon lights and pulsing right in front of our faces. Long ago, in the yester year of 2019, Adam Sandler had warned us all that if he didn’t get nominated for his stellar performance in Uncut Gems, he’d burden us with another one of his famous “bad” movies. Looks like he has kept his promise.
Sandler takes the lead once again, this time in the role of Hubie Dubois, a deli worker who lives with his mother (played by June Squibb) and whose skittish, offbeat personality makes him the target of constant ridicule. With Halloween fastly approaching, Hubie- an avid Halloween enthusiast- makes it his mission to make sure the town is safe and secure for trick-or-treaters and late-night revellers. His plans for a normal holiday are ruptured by a series of strange occurrences- the arrival of a weird new neighbor (played by Steve Buscemi), a number of sudden disappearances, and word that a convict has escaped a mental institution. Things get stranger as the night draws on, and it looks like it’s up to Hubie to find out what’s happening and save Halloween.
I’ve seen enough of his movies to know early on which ones I’ll hate and which ones I’ll at least tolerate. The deciding factor is whether or not Sandler uses a silly voice. Case in point, movies like The Waterboy, Little Nicky, and Jack and Jill, just to name a few. Of course, these movies aren’t bad solely because of silly voices. The silly voice is emblematic of his formulaic brand of comedy, which is not my cup of tea.
Hubie Halloween has the traditional Sandler-movie tropes: a dimwit protagonist who’s constantly put down and/or underestimated by his peers, over-the-top humor and slapstick, the Happy Madison brat pack (Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Rob Schneider, Shaq), an absurdly goofy tone, etc. Although it harbors the same traits as Sandler’s notoriously bad movies, this film doesn’t fall into that same camp. It comes close a few times, dangerously close. But it never reaches the point of being painful to sit through. On a technical level, it’s decently made. The film has a colorful Halloween aesthetic, which helps make it at least appealing to look at. The plot, as loose and thin-as-paper as it is, is crafted well enough so as to avoid predictability. I genuinely didn’t know where it was going, and, in a clever bit of writing, by the time the film reached its third act reveal, I realized that the truth was so obvious that I should have known where it was going. I’ll give it to Sandler and co-writer Tim Herlihy- they didn’t write a boring movie.
But just because a movie is decently made doesn’t mean it’s a good movie. Hubie Halloween suffers one fatal flaw, and it’s a flaw based purely on preference. If you’re a fan of Sandler’s brand of comedy, then you’ll probably be more receptive to the film than I was. Aside from one or two chuckle-worthy moments, this is an otherwise unfunny movie. Much of the humor is a long slate of dull jokes and Sandler going around talking in a goofy voice and yelling every time someone startles him. If you find that entertaining, then Hubie Halloween is the movie for you. If not, then I suggest finding something else to keep you in the Halloween spirits.