Written by: Tim Herlihy & Adam Sandler
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Rob Schneider, June Squibb
In the lead up to not winning an Academy Award for his brilliant performance in Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler, in jest, suggested he would create a film “so bad on purpose” as a form of retaliation. If anything, Hubie Halloween indicates the Sandman is a man of his word because it reaches a level of incompetence I simply could not believe.
Salem. Massachusetts has long been a hub of Halloween celebration, especially with its horrific past, and local resident Hubie (Adam Sandler) wants to ensure everyone remains safe. With his efforts to be nice to everyone, seemingly every person in the town likes to make fun of him because he scares easily and is not the smartest chap. He becomes more important than ever when a mysterious individual keeps kidnapping people on one Halloween night.
Expectations are everything in life and even with expecting minimal quality from this film, it still manages to let me down horrendously and it makes me question how much longer Sandler will be able to get away with this nonsense. He portrays Hubie and does this odd voice for no particular reason. The film opens with Hubie riding his bike to work where people dislike him to the point three kids attempt to throw eggs at him, which he catches in his handy thermos, mixes it, drinks it all claiming to be Rocky-style, and then projectile vomiting. This all occurs in the opening five minutes and only begins the onslaught of attempts at comedy by the people involved with this feature.
The plot revolves around people getting captured by an unknown individual that we see from behind their mask. Hubie tries to get to the bottom of it much like many suspected cases occurring in his town and he unsurprisingly does not get treated kindly by the police either, as they make fun of him for reporting frivolous things. Overall, Hubie just tries to be nice to people and then gets treated horribly as a result. You may be asking why and the answer eventually given makes absolutely no sense as compared to the actions done earlier in the film, which proves Hubie Halloween serves as yet another example of Sandler wasting resources to tell a story where he can employ all of his friends and family. Having this come out right after Uncut Gems makes this film so much more painful because Sandler just displayed what can occur if he decided to actually care for his craft and then he turns around and makes this. Within the cast, he has his regulars like Kevin James, Rob Schneider, but he also brings in his daughters as two characters as well. Being on their side of the fence, this is such a sweet situation but it ultimately feels like a waste of resources and the time of the actually talented people of this cast like Maya Rudolph and June Squibb.
Attempts at comedy clock with an abysmal percentage of laughing as only two moments genuinely made me laugh and I truly felt ashamed of it afterward because the basicness of them only worked because everything else around it just became painful to sit through. An ongoing joke appears in the thermos Hubie walks around with, which miraculously turns into many useful items for him. Within the thermos he keeps soup he consistently drinks throughout the day, which I suppose was meant to represent some sort of humor. The other one consistently flowing through the narrative came in the romantic subplot between Hubie and Violet Valentine (Julie Bowen). They went to high school together with Violet being chosen for the triple crown of class superlatives, which Hubie fixates on aplenty. The joke, of course, of the situation comes with Violet always harboring feelings for Hubie and her making it explicitly clear throughout with the titular character unaware of it because he’s not the most socially astute individual. A tiring joke throughout that comes together exactly how you would think but even worse somehow.
Hubie Halloween has absolutely no merits other than its genuinely well-produced production design in how they turn Salem into a Halloween extravaganza. Everything else just proves to be saddening because all of these individuals can be making better material, except for a select few who seemingly rely on their Sandler connection to find themselves in any movie. It feels like a joke Sandler and his gang is playing with everyone and maybe this is where the comedy lies, except the audience gets the raw end of the deal.