“You can just throw it on and turn your brain off.”
After Adam Sandler was snubbed out of a Best Actor nomination for Uncut Gems at the 92nd Academy Awards, he jokingly promised on the Howard Stern Show that he would make “the worst movie ever” as revenge. Many think that Hubie Halloween is Sandler’s delivered promise, but they’re wrong. Not only was Hubie Halloween filmed in summer 2019, but it’s actually pretty decent. Obviously, people who already don’t like Adam Sandler are going to hate Hubie Halloween out of principle, but those who love and admire the Sandman are going to enjoy themselves.
Hubie Halloween finds the titular character Hubie (Adam Sandler), a goofy deli worker who is ostracized by the townspeople of Salem. Despite constant bullying, every year Hubie designates himself as Salem’s official Halloween monitor, ensuring that the holiday is enjoyed safely. Normally they don’t need him, but this year things in Salem have gotten spooky. News has spread around town that a convict has escaped from a local mental institution, and Hubie’s new neighbour Walter (Steve Buscemi) has been acting pretty wolf-like. Some children even go missing, and it’s up to Hubie to live up to his Halloween monitor mantle and save the day.
Of course, Hubie Halloween is a family film, and the plot is pretty similar to Scooby-Doo as Hubie works to solve the mystery of Salem’s disappearances. While it definitely can’t be classified as a horror film, there are some spooky scenes thrown in to keep the story interesting. Steve Buscemi steals the show in these scenes, totally suspicious every time his character interacts with Hubie. Kevin James takes on a more serious role as one of Salem’s police officers, exasperated at Hubie’s constant calls to the station. Adam Sandler coasts as Hubie, it’s a character he’s down before, a little reminiscent of The Waterboy but he stills makes Hubie endearing and likeable, which is important to garner sympathy as Hubie keeps being bullied. The production design is also well done, capturing that haunting history that encapsulates the town of Salem, Massachusetts.
At its core, Hubie Halloween is really just another standard Happy Madison romp. Adam Sandler uses a silly voice for his character? Check. Adam Sandler’s character gets a girl way out of his league? Check. Adam Sandler keeping his buddies employed? Check. Check. Check! Is this a bad thing? No, absolutely not. People who enjoy Adam Sandler’s movies know that these elements are always present and have come to expect them. It’s fun seeing the likes of Kevin James, Rob Schneider, and Steve Buscemi pop up. The feeling is the embodiment of the Leonardo DiCaprio pointing meme.
Hubie Halloween is meant to be a silly fun time and that’s exactly what the film accomplishes. The mystery is actually a lot of fun to try and solve as the film treads on and it’s also frankly just nice to pick up all the classic Adam Sandler tropes that appear in his films. Like all of Adam Sandler’s films, it’s going to fall into a camp of those that hate the film and those that love it. Hubie Halloween is a great choice for those who’d like a break from the traditional heavy horrors that people watch throughout October. You can just throw it on and turn your brain off and sometimes that’s what’s needed.
Dir: Steven Brill
Prod: Adam Sandler, Kevin Grady, Allen Covert
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Rob Schneider, Steve Buscemi, Maya Rudolph, June Squibb
Release Date: 7 October 2020
Available on: Netflix