FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “Hubie Halloween,” which stars Adam Sandler (Big Daddy, The Ridiculous 6), Kevin James (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, The King of Queens [TV series]), Julie Bowen (Horrible Bosses, Modern Family [TV series]), Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Marriage Story ), Noah Schnapp (Stranger Things [TV series], Bridge of Spies), Karan Barr (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Mr. Peabody & Sherman), Paris Berelc (Lab Rats: Elite Force [TV series], Alexa & Katie [TV series]), Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs, Fargo ), Tim Meadows (Mean Girls, The Ladies Man), Maya Rudolph (The Way Way Back, Big Hero 6), Michael Chiklis (The Shield [TV series], Fantastic Four ), June Squibb (About Schmidt, Nebraska), George Wallace (Batman Forever, The Ladykillers), Kenan Thompson (Good Burger, Saturday Night Live [TV series]), Sadie Sandler (Murder Mystery, Hotel Transylvania), Sunny Sandler (Grown Ups, The Wrong Missy), Rob Schneider (The Benchwarmers, The Hot Chick), and Shaquille O’Neal (The Lego Movie, Steel). It is directed by Steven Brill (Heavyweights, Mr. Deeds), and written by Tim Herlihy (Bedtime Stories, Pixels) and Adam Sandler. As Halloween approaches in the town of Salem, local loser Hubie Dubois (Sandler) sets out to make his neighborhood safe. However, when an insane asylum patient escapes and people go missing in Salem, suddenly Hubie’s job becomes harder than he anticipated.
“Halloween is upon us!” Indeed it is, and so is another Adam Sandler film. The ole Sandman is looking to cash in on this holiday season with Netflix by doing what only he knows best: getting all his friends together and cracking some sophomoric jokes. That’s right ladies and gents, introducing what seems to be the adjacent to “Waterboy,” “Hubie Halloween.” Here we have a bumbling buffoon (portrayed by one of the three unique Adam Sandler approaches to all his characters) getting roasted by his whole community for trying to do what’s right. In this case, that’s being a street-wide monitor for anything dangerous to occur on or around Halloween; the only problem is, Hubie is a scaredy-cat, and most of his accusations prove false. Until one special Halloween that is… Queue the abductions!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the Sandman. He’s my childhood. But I would be wrong in saying that he’s kept a consistent quality with his filmmaking standards. We all know his films have gotten dumber, more throwaway. Heck, everything I can tell you that’s wrong with “Hubie Halloween” is so on the nose that you don’t need an analysis to tell you otherwise. Just watch the trailer, say to yourself “typical Adam Sandler,” and enjoy what you pay that monthly subscription to Netflix for. You know what you’re getting with this, so who am I to say anything different?
Alas, for the sake of being an analysis, I must at least give my opinion of “Hubie Halloween.” Did I laugh? Yes. Did I shake my head? Most definitely. To me, it seems the more content Sandler pushes out, the less he cares about plausibility in story. In this movie, there’s quite a bit of good jokes that had me laughing (more so in the first act than the rest of the film, mind you), but all of the characters are complete caricatures, to the point where it’s obnoxious. The moral, nougat center of this tale is Hubie and how alone he is. It’s only when we are introduced to his longtime crush Violet Valentine (Bowen) that we get some kind of emotional goal for the man. We know he’s supposed to get her; heck, we know he’s supposed to save the day for this town. But I just wish there were more emotional obstacles for Hubie. Poor Julie Bowen played one of the most annoying female love interests I have ever seen. Sure, she’s cute in her own way, but she has a crazy infatuation with Hubie to the point where, if she were the killer, it’d make sense. Why haven’t they gotten together before? What’s stopping Hubie from asking her out? Yes, I know it’s him, but come on people! Valentine was so on-the-nose with her feelings I wanted to vomit. Thankfully, we had more to watch than just their strenuous relationship.
I enjoyed all the performers Sandler brought into this. I mean, it’s hard not to. And yet even now I am surprised at the sheer mass of talent he’s able to bring on to his projects. Kevin James, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph, Noah Schnapp, Steve Buscemi, Ray Liotta, Kenan Thompson, Michael Chiklis, the list goes on and on (seriously). The amount of former Disney Channel stars in this that I remembered watching (from that 2010’s era) is insane. Does that make the quality of the film better? To some degree I guess. I just wish they weren’t so over-the-top is all. But, as I said, what else do you expect from “Hubie Halloween”?
The story unfolds as you’d expect, but it does hold a few surprises. Whether it be cast member reveals or the mysterious killer unveiling (which did honestly come as a shock to me), there’s enough here to keep you entertained, if not for some of the jokes. Though I can dog on Sandler’s new movies all day long, it’s hard to not watch them (unless it’s “Pixels”). He always has a way of entertaining the audience and capitalizing on the comedic prowess of his friends. I laughed enough in this to warrant somewhat of a recommendation, but that does not excuse the poor character arcs and loose storyline. What you see in the trailer is what you get in the film. If you like Sandler, you’ll like this. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s pretty clear cut. Either way, “Hubie Halloween” has its moments and did what it set out to do. You can’t ask for more from a project like this. FINAL SCORE: 68%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: