Hubie Halloween Review: Another Sandler Comedy Flick
The headline basically sums it up.
Before I can talk about Hubie Halloween I have to acknowledge that I have a complicated relationship with Adam Sandler. I hope that knowing how I feel about him will make it easier to determine whether you should listen to my review or not.
I have never loved a Sandler movie and I have hated many. I’ve liked a few but they have always been more serious fare such as Punch-Drunk Love and Reign Over Me. As a comedic actor his style almost never appeals to me, but when he attempts a more thoughtful performance I can appreciate his talents. I wish I could enjoy his comedy and his serious roles because if both struck a chord with me he would be a considerable talent in my eyes. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.
With that said, I can imagine that Sandler fans already symphonious with his shtick finding some amount of pleasure. It follows a common routine of his: an over-the-top portrayal of a person who is either awkwardly lovable but socially outcast or suffering from some type of mental illness. Like many of his movies, Hubie Halloween is meant to appeal to simplicity. The humour can be found in the randomness and silliness, but it’s not meant to be clever.
Depending on your perspective, this is either Sandler fans or haters.
That’s fine when it lands, and it does land occasionally. I laughed more during this one than I did in any of his recent flicks, such as The Week Of and the painfully embarrassing Pixels. And they weren’t just amused smiles, they were genuine chuckles.
The main problem is that the ratio of good laughs to failed pursuits is abysmal. If I had to estimate the percentage to which I laughed I’d place it at about 1.03045838920404%. Seriously though, they throw so many jokes at you that some of them have to stick eventually.
They even drown a few decent gags. There is one about Halloween costumes that I was fond of but then one of the characters literally called attention to it. This made it less effective because they drowned it. Like many Sandler flicks, this call to mainstream appeal–which, by the way, has worked splendidly for him financially–disintegrates a potentially great joke. Most people could perceive the dig, and indeed, the joke returns later on in a more subtle way and works as intended. I harp on about one specific joke because it is endemic of why I don’t generally enjoy his movies.
With that said, the central mystery is more engaging than I anticipated, and it almost made me give this a passing grade. Hubie has to save Salem, the town in which he has lived his entire life, from a threatening force that finds its way to town on Halloween.
Ooooh, spooky. Nah, not really.
It does a decent job of making the viewer guess about what’s going on and who’s doing what. It does so by taking some mildly entertaining twists and playing with expectations. Something menacing will be set-up but at a certain point it becomes obvious that it’s not quite as predictable as one might expect. I’m not saying this has a Fight Club level swerve that completely makes you rethink everything, but the plot at least occasionally lives up to the selling points of the film.
The selling point being the cast. This is only a partial list, but you have Sandler, Ray Liotta, June Squibb, Steve Buscemi and Kevin James. Now, some of these are reoccurring people in Sandler flicks and I realize that including James in that list is a little iffy… but I like him, I don’t care. Mostly I’m there for Buscemi and Liotta.
Regardless of some of the crap any of these people have done in the past, their existence in Hubie Halloween at least warrants a genuine effort to make a good movie. And truthfully, Buscemi is given quality stuff to work with. Admittedly, that could simply be because he’s not in the movie a lot so the writers didn’t have enough time to sicken me of his character.
This will be hated by a pretty vocal group of people, but my prediction is that it will become popular on Netflix because there’s a larger, silent group of Sandler fans who just watch his stuff regardless. I can’t declare this as some kind of cinematic atrocity like some of his other flicks but I will file Hubie Halloween as not offensively bad nor decent enough to recommend.
This just in: Adam Sandler wants to cast this guy in his next movie.
THAT'S ENOUGH, GET TO THE SCORE
IT'S NOT PIXELS
Thank God. This isn’t one of the worst Sandler movies ever because it has some redeeming qualities, but it is just another Sandler flick. Your mileage will vary depending on how the statement “another Sandler flick” makes you feel.