2.5 out of 5
Halloween is around the corner — and with all the old horror faves replaying, you might be looking for something new to add to your collection of fall regulars. If you have Netflix, click on over the Hubie Halloween and give it a watch. If you don’t have anything pressing and don’t mind feeding your brain with stuff that just doesn’t weigh that much — I think you’ll find Hubie Halloween to be a nice little reprieve from everything else going on.
Like most of Adam Sandler’s comedies, this movie isn’t going to take home any awards — and yes — it does feel like another movie he made in order to give all of his friends (including his wife and daughters) something to do — but in the end, it’s got heart and will make you laugh more than a couple of times.
The story follows a familiar formula, as Sandler’s character, Hubie Dubois, is a clear underdog who puts up with endless teasing and bullying, but by sheer triumph of the uncluttered mind, ends up being the story’s hero when it’s all said and done. In this case, Dubois loves Halloween, and by loves, I mean he lives for the holiday. His yard is decorated in such a way that even Clark Griswold would have to tip his cap, and for that — he pays a price from the neighborhood kids and even a few adults. His bike rides through the streets are often filled with objects being hurled at him (which he ducks like Neo from The Matrix), or kids chasing and putting him down relentlessly. None of it seems to affect Hubie though, as he is convinced his love for the community, the holiday, and especially his grade school crush Violet Valentine (Julie Bowen) is all worth it. He is the self-appointed “Hall Monitor” for the town in which he lives and constantly alerts the town Sheriff, Sgt. Steve Downey (played by an almost unrecognizable Kevin James) to circumstances he is sure will lead to everyone’s demise. Sgt. Downey, a has-been high school football star, along with his deputy (Kenan Thompson), do everything they can to ignore Hubie — eventually appointing him to a secret position on the police force, where he is to file all of his reports at a secret drop off location — a trash can, and break all contact with them as that would surely blow his cover…Hubie falls for it.
As he always does around Halloween, Hubie comes across a situation that he feels has put the entire town in jeopardy, as a new next door neighbor behaves increasingly stranger as the 31st approaches, and a few of the town regulars go missing. Add to that, an escaped convict from the nearby insane asylum, and Hubie is sure that his services are needed now more than ever. Of course, the town ignores him, mocks him — and then ends up regretting it.
Over the years, Adam Sandler has been criticized for making movies that feel like they were quickly thrown together for a fast payday, and to give his friends movie roles and vacations — as most if not all of them have very little depth and can nearly be laid on top of each other, as it seems only characters’ names, and a few story details were changed. For those fans who love his sense of humor, however, this only endears him to them even more (as evidenced by the film ranking number one on Netflix for a while). Many of his films of this nature feature running gags, lines and characters, which make the viewer feel like they’re in on all of it — if you’re a Sandler fan, you’ll love Ben Stiller’s cameo and his sweet mother’s t-shirts. People look for that, love that, and keep coming back for more. And as evidenced by his new 4-year, $275 million deal with Netflix this year — it pays off.
Hubie Halloween is no different. Most of the “regulars” are back, as is the storyline, and the same sort of gags and sense of humor. Heck, even Hubie seems like a slightly modified version of Bobby Boucher from Waterboy. In the end, though, that’s what you watch these types of movies for. They’re a release from everything that stresses you out. For 1 hour and 42 minutes, you can set aside Covid-19, your job, or anything else that gives you a headache, and just feast on a movie that really doesn’t require you to think. All you have to do is sit back, laugh, and enjoy it for what it is. I did, and if I was Adam Sandler, or one his friends, you better believe I’d make these kinds of movies too. They all look like they’re having an absolute blast, and as long as there is an audience appetite and a big, fat check available — why wouldn’t you?
Hubie Halloween is PG-13 for crude and suggestive content, language and brief teen partying, and is playing now on Netflix.