Let me preface today’s review with this: Before the Oscars last year, Adam Sandler was on The Howard Stern Show. During his interview, Sandler jokingly threatened that if he didn’t get nominated for his performance in Uncut Gems he was going to make a film so bad on purpose to make everyone pay. Well, we didn’t listen. This is our punishment:
Hubie Halloween, the newest Adam Sandler/Happy Madison production, was just released on Netflix. This time around it’s a spooky holiday special starring Sandler & Friends! But, honestly, the only thing scary about this film is its attempts at being funny.
Going into this film, I wasn’t expecting much, but I really was hoping that after his experience filming Uncut Gems, Sandler would have improved taste in scripts and place newfound value on effective performances. But who am I kidding? Of course he didn’t learn anything!
Adam Sandler plays Hubie Dubois, an unmarried citizen of Salem, Massachusetts, and lover of Halloween who has taken it upon himself to look out for the fellow citizens of his town, despite the fact that literally everyone hates him. I’m not kidding. Aside from his mom and his obvious love interest, the ongoing joke in the film is that everyone hates him. People make fun of him and insult him to his face, so much so that it seems like the life goal of every person in that town to make Hubie’s life miserable. The only thing offensive he’s done is act strange and unintelligent and talk in a weird voice. And also try to help people. What a horrible person!
I mean, I get it. He’s kinda dumb, and a little socially awkward. He’s not always easy to have around, but he means well and you can’t tell him to leave. I’ve totally had people in my life who are like that. What you do is be nice, be their friend, and keep talking with them. You don’t throw stuff at them and call them names in front of everyone and push them into freshly dug graves! It does turn out that it is important to the plot of the film, but you can’t just make unrealistic choices for the story “because movie.”
Speaking of unrealistic, the romance is just as confusing. While the people of Salem are horrible people for being abusive towards Hubie, Julie Bowen as Violet Valentine, a beautiful single woman that Hubie has had a crush on for years, falls head-over-heels in love with him. And it’s like… Come on, really? I don’t mean to be heartless, but you really think Hubie Dubois is your dream boy? Maybe I’m taking the story too seriously. I mean, it is a comedy, and it’s probably supposed to seem dumb. But it comes off as cringey.
While Hubie is out acting as “security” while everyone is either trick-or-treating or partying in whatever way they do when everything goes terribly wrong. Hubie soon discovers some strange goings-on that involve werewolves, escaped mental institution patients, and murder. Hubie must do what he can to get to the bottom of things and save the people of Salem. But, of course, no one believes him. Instead, they mock him.
It was pretty tough to watch through this whole movie because it’s barely funny. Most of the humor is low-brow and is, at times, very puzzling. I’m surprised many of the jokes even made it on paper. It’s very tasteless. The comedic pacing is off most of the time, making scenes very awkward. The beginning of the film is the hardest stretch to get through.
I will say that there were a few times the film made me chuckle. Steve Buscemi—who is too good to be in Happy Madison flicks—plays a psycho who thinks he’s a werewolf and moments with his character were funny. Also, the thermos Hubie carries around turns out to be an Inspector Gadget-type tool that has multiple and the ways Hubie finds to use it get more and more ridiculous as the story progresses.
Another positive thing I will say is that Adam Sandler isn’t boring to watch in this movie like he has been in past flicks like Pixels. He really gets into his performance—perhaps a little too much?—and he’s fun to watch most of the time. It makes me wonder if working on Uncut Gems inspired him to like acting again.
Unfortunately, these few positives weren’t enough to make the movie worth watching. Aside from being mostly unfunny, it was also largely boring because it was hard to feel invested in the story. There are just a few too many plot lines that don’t go anywhere.
If you want to watch a good Adam Sandler movie, go watch Uncut Gems, Punch-Drunk Love, or The Meyerowitz Stories – or even go watch one of his comedies from the 90s. This one you could pop onto the TV while you’re counting your Halloween candy. Otherwise, I don’t see myself watching it again.
Episode 018 | Say Goodnight Kevin Podcast
Michael Schaffer and Matt Matias from the “Memes for Jesus” podcast join Kevin for a rip-roaring good conversation about what it’s like making “funny” content for, about, and with Christians on the world wide web. It’s the interview no one asked for, but boy howdy will you be begging for more after you hear this fantastic discussion! Enjoy!