“Hubie Halloween”: Adam Sandler delivers a delightfully stupid Halloween comedy



Julie Bowen and Adam Sandler star as Violet Valentine and Hubie Dubois in “Hubie Halloween,” which premiered on Netflix on Oct. 7.

During the 2020 Oscar race, Adam Sandler threatened that if his film “Uncut Gems” was snubbed by the academy, he would retaliate by making the worst movie ever. So it was with a mix of dread and glee that I turned to his latest work, “Hubie Halloween.” 

Luckily (or unfortunately, depending on how you view it), “Hubie Halloween” was not the fulfillment of Sandler’s threat. Instead the Sandman delivers a delightfully stupid and hilarious movie. It suffers from an incredible host of problems, but it’s one of those Adam Sandler movies that just works. 

“Hubie Halloween” centers around Hubie DuBois (Sandler), a town pariah who spends the Halloween season making sure that everyone is ready to safely celebrate the holiday, which usually means ruining high school parties and snitching on children who buy too many eggs. His hometown of Salem despises him, and Hubie is constantly dodging ridiculous things like cinder blocks or bags of ignited excrement the town has thrown at him. However, Hubie is the only man who can save his town when, on Halloween night, people mysteriously begin to go missing.

In typical Sandler style, the cast is full of Hollywood A-listers. Steve Buscemi, June Squibb, Maya Rudolph, Tim Meadows, Keenan Thompson and Kevin James, among others, deliver wonderful performances. Even Shaquille O’Neal and Dan Patrick make cameos. Pairing Sandler with Julie Bowen again, who haven’t been in a movie together since Happy Gilmore, was an excellent decision and their purposefully cringe-inducing romance is one of the highlights of the film.

The movie successfully jumps between characters, which allows big names playing smaller characters to shine. It also employs running gags like Hubie’s Inspector Gadget-esque thermos and the accidentally inappropriate shirts that Hubie’s mother (Squibb) has thrifted. 

The film, delightfully mindless as it is, isn’t without problems. For one, I could do without the gratuitous number of bathroom jokes, but it wouldn’t really be an Adam Sandler movie without them. The movie suffers from poor pacing in the latter half of the second act, dragging the film downward with what became semi-stale repetition of earlier jokes and stretching it to 102 minutes, when it needn’t be longer than 90. 

The ending of the movie is a little painful, as a feel-good message is squeezed out of the movie. It’s slow, awkward and tonally different from the rest of the movie but still manages to be funny. 

The film also displays the new side of Adam Sandler. In the past, Sandler has had a penchant for mean-spirited comedy in his films. Whether it was the lazy stereotyping in “Jack and Jill” or “The Ridiculous 6,” which was so racist that some actors walked off the set in protest, Sandler is infamous for his cruel comedy.  

However, “Hubie Halloween” shows a newer, more gentle version of the Sandman. In the past, Sandler might have harshly depicted Hubie as a mentally disabled person, but in this film, he’s simply a bumbling manchild whose kindness is too much for those around him. 

Sandler often makes stupid films, but there are two types of stupid Adam Sandler movies. Some of his movies are just plain old stupid, like “Jack and Jill” or “Grown Ups.” The other kind is a magical, intentful stupidity that makes mindless movies like “Hubie Halloween,” the perfect kind of spooky distraction we all need right now.