Julien Neaves – Editor
Full disclosure – I’m not a fan of Halloween. The holiday that is, not the franchise with butcher knife aficionado Michael Myers (big up Double M) and that one entry with a plot to kill kids with pumpkin masks and an evil TV signal. It’s weirder than it sounds. But yeah, I’m more of a Christmas-carol singing, hall-decking kind of guy than a scary costume wearing, trick-or-treating kind of guy. Though there was this one time as a child I played a hunchback by stuffing a tee shirt into the back of my other tee shirt. What, I was on a budget?
And speaking of low efforts I am also very wary of Adam Sandler comedies. For me he peaked with The Wedding Singer (an all-time favourite) and had some fun silly entries like Billy Madison and The Waterboy. But he is also infamous for churning out some of the worst comedies ever. Jack and Jill anyone? So when I saw Netflix advertising his latest “comedy” Hubie Halloween I fully intended to swerve past it like the many potholes populating the roads in my community.
But I drew the RMR writer short straw (stop laughing Sommer) so here we are. Now I was actually surprised that his last Netflix film Murder Mystery wasn’t unwatchable garbage. But Hubie Halloween? I am now convinced Sandler’s 12 movie deal with Netflix was some type of Faustian bargain, because the hour, 30 minutes and ten seconds I spent watching this movie felt like being trapped into anti-comedy hell.
So what’s this living nightmare about? Sandler stars as the eponymous Hubie, full name Hubert Shubert Dubois, a goofy, fearful, unintelligent man with a speech impediment (yes, just like Water Boy and Little Nicky) who is obsessed with keeping everyone safe during Halloween in his town of Salem. How he expects to do that when children in costumes startle him is anyone’s guess. Almost everyone in the town hates him from some reason (I mean he is annoying but it seems excessive) and are constantly throwing things at him and playing vile pranks on him. There is also a running gag of people calling “Pubie”. Comedy gold here people. Comedy gold. And Hubie also has a red thermos with multiple, inexplicable capabilities including spraying mace and a Batman-style grappling hook launcher.
This is easily one of Sandler’s worst characters ever. You know when you leave ice too long into some left over soft drink and it melts and it has this tasteless, ghastly flavour? Well it’s like Sandler took diluted remnants of his crappiest performances, blended them together and poured out Hubie. When was I supposed to laugh? When he mumbled nonsense? When his thermos demonstrated another silly ability? When he was assaulted in another prank? When he got scared by a Halloween costume/decoration for the fiftieth time? It’s Halloween man! Hubie was just so irritating and miserable and aggressively unfunny that instead of sympathising with him I was checking my watch to see how much movie was left. A WHOLE HOUR! Ah crap!
But the Sandman is not content to frolic in this cinematic latrine alone. He dragged in his friends and frequent collaborators like Kevin James, Rob Schneider and Steve Buscemi, SNL cast members past and present, and other unfortunate souls like June Squibb, Ray Liotta, Shaquille O’Neal and Julie Bowen. And like a wild frat party at midnight pretty much everyone is wasted here. Squibb as Hubie’s mother wears tee shirts with juvenile sex jokes and that’s about it. James is an overly hairy cop. Liotta is a loud bully. Shaq is well, wow. I won’t spoil his role here because the movie already did that.
And Bowen plays the overly caring, adoptive mother of three in the latest in a long line of attractive Sandler love interests. But her falling in love with Hubie stretches the suspension of disbelief to the point of bursting. This is a reunion with her and Sandler as she was also his love interest way back in 1996 for Happy Gilmore, but that was a much better role in a far better movie.
The one, flickering light here is Maya Rudolph as the sexually frustrated Mrs Hennessy. She is the one somewhat funny character in this whole miserable experience and delivers one of the four laughs I experienced. Yes. You read that right. I laughed four times in this entire movie. FOUR TIMES in more than an hour and a half. I laugh more than that in a two-minute Key and Peele sketch. But in Hubie the multitude of uninspired, tired jokes just assault you like piss-covered dodge balls until you numbly curl up in a fetal position and wonder where you went wrong in life. I don’t think this film had actual writers. I think they just wrote a bunch of random words on on the walls of a padded room, gave a bunch of monkeys some laxative-flavoured bananas, left them in the room for half an hour, and then returned to see what stuck.
Other than Rudolph and the beggarly four laughs I will give the film a point for the twist ending which actually caught me. Sure it breaks down under close inspection but at least it was something different. A real diamond in this turd pile. I have seen articles asking if this is Sandler’s worst movie ever. Well I may not be the best person to ask as I have only visited a few sites in the hell hole of his unfunny comedy filmography and I have not been to every level. So I don’t think it’s worst than Little Nicky (man I hate that movie) but I can’t compare it to Jack and Jill, for example, because I have been avoiding that movie like the coronavirus. And I will not say it is the worst comedy ever because I actually laughed a handful of times and there are comedies where I never laughed once. I’m looking at you Baywatch. Fire for Baywatch. But I can tell you that it is one of his worst movies and one of my worst movie experiences. And the scariest part? People keep watching these movies so the Sandman is going to keep making them. That fact is absolutely terrifying.
Julien’s Score: 3 out of 10 (for Rudolph, four times I laughed, and the twist)
If you would like to check out Sommer’s take on Hubie Halloween you can watch her video review here:
And speaking of Sommer you can check out her review of Robert De Niro’s “comedy” the War with Grandpa here. And for more cautionary film reviews you can like and follow Redmangoreview on Facebook by clicking here.
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.
I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter and talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.