Growing up, I watched a lot of Adam Sandler movies on cable TV. I wasn’t aware of his stint on Saturday Night Live so, when I stumbled on Billy Madison one night, I couldn’t believe the ridiculousness and how funny the film was. There were moments where I really broke out laughing at the weirdest times because of the silly and sometimes dark humor Adam Sandler presented. I then watched his other movies such as Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy and The Wedding Singer. But then things then started to turn sour. I noticed in his later films like Little Nicky, Big Daddy and the other movies under the Happy Madison production house, the Adam Sandler magic just seemed to fade away. Like a lot of fans, we pretty much gave up on Adam Sandler putting together a movie that rivals his early hits.
But that doesn’t mean we’re not above giving him a chance to redeem himself. So, when Hubie Halloween was announced on Netflix, I was still cautiously optimistic. Maybe, just maybe, we can get the old Adam Sandler back. The man who knew how to bring the funny. Was he able to do so?
Well, in all honesty, not really. However, I will not say it wasn’t as bad as his other attempts at comedy flicks lately. I’ll go into detail below but, as per usual for new releases, this review for Hubie Halloween is going to be a SPOILER FREE review.
Anyway, Hubie Halloween follows the exploits of Hubie Dubois, a meek man living the Salem, Massachusetts. He is constantly bullied as he is easily frightened but, even so, Hubie constantly tries to help out anyone in need. During Halloween, Hubie realizes that people start to disappear and, thinking that there’s sinister forces doing the deed, Hubie sets out to solve the mystery.
The first thing I do have to talk about is Hubie himself. Now, I realize that one of the main draws for many of the old Adam Sandler comedies is him portraying a wacky character. They all have to have this weird quirk that makes them stand out. Hubie definitely follows the pattern. However, he is rather annoying; good hearted but annoying. He’s gets scared easily yet he really like Halloween? Also, Adam Sandler decided to give Hubie a “funny” voice which gets tired really, really quickly. Honestly, he could’ve done the entire character without the silly voice and it might have made Hubie a much more likable character.
As per usual with most of his films, you’ll notice a lot of familiar faces in Hubie Halloween. You’ll see a lot of Happy Madison alums here like Steve Buschemi and Kevin James popping their heads in here and there. I actually liked this as it is great seeing familiar faces in an Adam Sandler film. It kind of reminds me of the good old days/films. However, once again, they’re mostly caricatures of real people and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, the acting can be a little all over the place. Sometimes, the performances are good and endearing while some of them just feel a little flat. Overall, however, they do work in this weird Happy Madison tone of comedy.
The overall plot of Hubie Halloween is kind of all over the place. The reason is they just tried to cram in a lot of secondary storylines and characters. With a runtime of only 102 minutes, most of them never come off as really fully fleshed out. After all, the movie is still Hubie’s story but I just didn’t see the point of including all of these superfluous bits and pieces if they’re not there in service of the main plot. Not all the subplots are wastes of time, mind you but that’s only because they do connect with Hubie’s story. Then there are the other secondary stories such as this romantic subplot featuring two teens which are totally pointless. I guess Netflix ordered to put these scenes in there because they had to get the Disney demographic? It just feels like filler. So much unnecessary filler.
However, the biggest question about Hubie Halloween is if it’s funny. I mean, it’s supposed to be a comedy movie so if it makes me laugh, then mission accomplished, right? I will admit there were moments in Hubie Halloween that did make me chuckle. They weren’t laugh out loud moments like with Billy Madison but there were some creative spots that I did like. Oh, there were many more moments that made me cringe, like whenever Hubie would act all agitated and petrified because it’s Halloween and he’ll just be “funny” by screaming his head off. But there were some scenes that did put a smile on my face. They weren’t a lot but, at the very least, they were there!
I will say that Hubie Halloween does feel a little more inspired than the other films under the Happy Madison series of films. There are even a couple of winks and nods to longtime Adam Sandler fans here and there. Some of the cartoony and dark humor was explored a little bit more than Adam Sandler other more recent film exploits. While it’s not a clear return to form, I do see it as a step in the right direction and does give me a little more hope that he has another funny movie buried deep inside him, straining to get out. I also have to mention that the central mystery is kind of good. While there are definitely a few macguffins thrown in the mix, some of them are rather imaginative.
However, I’m not really willing to give my full approval to Hubie Halloween. The main character doesn’t have the likable quality of Adam Sandler characters like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore. It feels like there’s a lot of fluff and the story could definitely be tighter. On the other hand, there are shades of the old Happy Madison comedies here and the movie did make me chuckle quite a bit. It is rather tempting to give it a quick once over as it is on Netflix right now, though. And who doesn’t have Netflix these days? I guess if you’re an Adam Sandler “fan,” Hubie Halloween warrants a look but others who want an actual rip-roaring comedy might want to steer clear from this.
Have you seen Hubie Halloween? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts on the film in the comment section below!