It seems with every breath of fresh air we get from Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems, The Meyerowitz Stories), we immediately revert back to his humourless ‘Happy Maddison’ phase. Hubie Halloween is no exception, as it indulges us with the same tired gags served up by the same recurring suspects.
Sandler is Hubie. A social outcast who is the subject to his neighbourhood’s endless bullying. If you’ve ever seen Waterboy (1998) before, then it’s almost as if you’ve met Hubie before. The 31st of October however, like every other year, is Hubie’s day. The best (and only) ‘official’ volunteer Halloween monitor, Hubie assumes his annual role as the overseer of his neighbourhood in suburban Salem. Armed only with his multipurpose thermos (a constant running gag) and his can-do attitude, Hubie’s role becomes more important than ever, when he discovers strange goings-on within his childhood town.
At this point, it would be silly to expect anything remarkable given Sandler’s comedic track record. Within the first six or seven minutes, we’re already treated to two bike crashes and a fart joke. Very quickly setting the tone for the rest of the movie.
Joined by his usual representatives, Sandler’s latest collaboration with Netflix is the perfect embodiment of their relationship so far. Shambolic, woefully unfunny, and incredibly immature. Sandler has played out the speech impediment simpleton, and alongside him star Kevin James, Rob Schneider and Steve Buscemi as your typical band of oddballs.
Hubie Halloween isn’t always the casting calamity. Noah Schnapp and Paris Berelc are a nice surprise, even if they are sidelined for far too much of the movie. Perhaps one of the most alluring aspects however, is the inclusion of Aurora. The towns radio DJ who acts as the narrator for the unfolding events. And the surprise reveal of which was the only moment that got a genuine belly laugh out of me the whole movie. Even if it was quickly tarnished by its childish humour.
Hubie Halloween is far from feeling either authentically horrifying or comical, which in itself feels like the main joke. Sandler’s latest effort does little to rejuvenate his comedic glory days and this addition will likely fall to the bottom of the stink pile of Netflix originals alongside ‘The Do-Over’ and ‘The Ridiculous 6’. I guess if I were to ‘cut’ to the chase, Hubie Halloween is no ‘Gem’.