In 2019, Adam Sandler jokingly threatened that if he wasn't nominated for an Oscar for his role in “Uncut Gems,” he would purposely make the worst movie possible in order to get back at the critics.
Fast forward to 2020, and it seems like Sandler has kept his promise with his newest film, “Hubie Halloween.” The film stars Sandler, Kevin James (Grown Ups, Paul Blart: Mall Cop) and Julie Bowen (Modern Family) along with other familiar faces previously seen in Sandler’s films. The film takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, and follows Hubie Dubois (Sandler). Hubie is a town outcast whose mission every year is to make Halloween safe for everyone.
Hubie might bring back some memories for long time Sandler fans. As soon as I heard his voice, it instantly reminded me of the voice Sandler used for his famous character Bobby Boucher Jr. from “The Waterboy.” Hubie also lives with his mom — just like Bobby does. At first, I thought the film was an alternate-universe sequel to “The Waterboy.”
Compared to Sandler’s past work, this one seemed to have a more sporadic way of storytelling. One second the audience is seeing what Hubie is doing, and the next they’ll be with different characters. The next time they see Hubie the previous scene has finished and he’s already interacting with new characters. This type of storytelling makes the timeline of the story a bit confusing, and it’s difficult to remember what’s happened to some of the characters.
Some of the jokes got old very quickly. For example, Hubie is too easily scared. He screams practically once every scene, whether from a costume or just from someone behind him. The joke was predictable, and this made it really annoying toward the end. However, one solid joke was Hubie’s multi-tool thermos. Not only did it hold soup, but it was also a vacuum and a blender, and it had a retractable keychain attached so that he never lost it. The thermos gag worked because it wasn’t expected, and the audience never knew what Hubie would use it for next. It was funny to see such complex mechanics come out of a product mainly used to hold hot liquids.
The side characters in the film were a little odd. Steve Buscemi plays a mental patient who glued hair to his arms because he thinks he’s a werewolf. Shaquille O'Neal’s character is a radio DJ who uses a woman’s voice while he’s on-air. Their personalities seemed a little outrageous, but it fits the Halloween mood— uncomfortable and a little bizarre.
While there might be a lot that could be better about this movie, the thing that makes Sandler’s movies so enjoyable are their overall messages. His films are all about overcoming obstacles, finding your own path and making sacrifices for others rather than yourself. This movie is no different; Hubie is constantly bullied by everyone, but he still patrols the city and makes sure everyone is safe. He’s stronger than anyone gives him credit for, because it’s hard to continually be nice to people who are always trying to push you down.
All in all, this movie was alright. It’s hard to say if this is the worst movie Sandler could’ve made, but it’s certainly not his best. Even still, it’s hard not to like any of his movies when it seems like he’s just having a good time with his best buddies, inspiring others and helping them through life’s struggles.