Hubie Halloween, 2020.
Directed by Steven Brill
Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Steve Buscemi, Rob Schneider, Maya Rudolph, Tim Meadows, Michael Chiklis, June Squibb, George Wallace, Keenan Thompson, Shaquille O’Neill, Noah Schnapp, and Paris Berelc
For years Hubie Dubois (Adam Sandler) has kept the streets of Salem safe from trouble, all while being ridiculed and bullied because of it. Now, all these years later, something is coming to town that may need his special set of skills and accompanying thermos flask.
Adam Sandler should have learned from Jim Carrey’s Oscar snub. The Academy doesn’t like a clown. As such his promise to make a terrible film should he fail to be nominated for his performance in Uncut Gems was always likely to come to fruition. A fact that brings us nicely onto his latest Netflix offering, Hubie Halloween. A childish romp that channels Ernest Scared Stupid, and which wouldn’t feel out of place on a VHS rental shelf in the 1980s. However, the biggest shock of all when it comes to this spooky season romp is that it isn’t terrible.
That might sound like damning with faint praise, and that’s because it is. Adam Sandler comedies can be reviewed using their own ratings system, so while this is by no means a good film, in the Sandler cannon it’s one of the better efforts.
You still have Sandler, who’s terrific by-the-way, playing a manchild doofus with a funny voice, once again inexplicably pursued by the hottest girl in town (Modern Family‘s Julie Bowen), dodging flaming turds, both literal and of the attempted joke variety. This time it all feels a little different though. If you stick with it, and for some that might be a tough ask, then there’s the kind of big beating heart message that’s sometimes lost among Sandler’s silliness. It all feels very harmless and fun, so much so that your cynicism melts, and you might just find yourself laughing at Rob Schneider pissing himself. If you do, keep telling yourself “it’s 2020, it’s 2020”.
On which, there are the usual roll call of familiar faces, including Steve Buscemi as the mysterious new next door neighbour, who never fails to raise a giggle in these Happy Madison films, largely because you can’t believe it’s Nucky Thompson howling at the moon.
Most of the comedy is pretty telegraphed; there’s a visual wiener gag within the first five minutes, and a “boner” joke is rinsed for all it’s worth. It’s the kind of stuff that might make the 13-year old you giggle. The best line is given to Maya Rudolph’s Bride of Frankenstein bully, who delivers the simple genius of “Hubie Do Be Careful” like it’s going to be on the films Academy showreel. You may scoff, but keep telling yourself “it’s 2020, it’s 2020”
Faeces, farts and a whole swag bags worth of immature fun, Hubie Halloween is Sandler at his best/worst. It’s lowest common denominator stuff, but sometimes we need to put away our lofty expectations, climb down off our high horse, and just enjoy something like that.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★
Matt Rodgers – Follow me on Twitter @mainstreammatt