Adam Sandler reunites with his regular squad of collaborators for the holiday themed underdog comedy, Hubie Halloween. Teaming up with the writer of Little Nicky and chock full of Sandler alumni cameos, you’d be forgiven for mistaking this movie as a Saturday Night Live special. It’s classic Happy Madison, which means it’s total Marmite viewing and for the record, I like Marmite.
It’s October 31st in Salem, Massachusetts and self-appointed community “monitor” Hubie Dubois is preparing for another night of keeping the townsfolk safe, in between dodging increasingly dangerous objects that are hurled his way and reporting the purchase of suspicious amounts of toilet paper to local cop Kevin James, a mullet donning, aviator enthusiast with an unquenchable snack bar appetite.
Hubie, or more commonly referred to as “Pubie” by an obnoxious Ray Liotta, still lives at home with his Mum (a brilliant June Squibb), it’s a Waterboy-esque relationship as is Sandler’s delivery of Hubie’s character, once again using the mumbled, crooked-mouthed schtick we’ve seen over the years. He’s an endearing chap really, you can’t help but feel bad for the guy when all he wants to do is the right thing but the world keeps chucking fire lit poo bags at him. His Mum also happens to own the finest collection of T-Shirts the world has ever known.
So, when the news of an escaped mental patient hits the airwaves, Hubie braces himself for what could be, his biggest challenge yet. With nothing but a name to go off, there’s no telling who it could be (dun, dun, duuuun) but when Hubie meets his friendly yet cagey new neighbour (Steve Buscemi), his spidey-sense starts-a-tingling.
People quickly start to go missing and it’s up to Hubie to find the killer. What plays out is an amalgamation of horror tropes as the film blends elements of John Carpenter’s Halloween, the goofiness of Scooby-Doo’s mystery and the fur of a Werewolf. Armed with dim-wits and his trusty Swiss-Army thermos, Hubie must uncover the clues and convince his peers of the elusive killer’s identity.
Hubie’s brave intentions are outweighed by cowardly fears, it doesn’t take much to scare him half to death and deploy a terror-induced rage scream. His frustrations only increase as the closer he gets to solving this thing, the less people want to listen, that is other than his longtime crush, Violet Valentine; the only person willing to hear him out and admire his kind natured deeds.
I’ve always found Adam Sandler’s movies to be consistently fun, funny and familiar. One could argue that he recycles the same comical bits over and over but honestly I don’t much care. I never go in expecting him to push the envelope and maybe that acquired low expectation is the very thing that people take issue with; should he do more as a veteran of comedy? Should we expect more innovative movies that elevate the genre?Maybe. But for me, Sandler’s borderline “lazy” delivery and purist comedy roots are exactly what make his films enjoyable, which in my opinion, is all he probably cares about. Critics will pan it, audiences will like it. Same Sandler, same tricks.
You’re unlikely to see or hear anything new with Sandler’s latest outing but there’s harmless fun to be had here even if it doesn’t quite capitalise on it’s own premise. Silly characters, low-brow jokes and a few chuckles all dressed up for Halloween make for easy and inoffensive viewing.
Hubie Halloween is streaming on Netflix now