12th Oct2020

‘Hubie Halloween’ Review (Netflix)

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Steve Buscemi, Rob Schneider, Maya Rudolph, Tim Meadows, June Squibb, Michael Chiklis, George Wallace, Kenan Thompson, Ben Stiller, Shaquille O’Neal, Jackie Sandler | Written by Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler | Directed by Steven Brill

Hubie Halloween tells the story of Hubie Dubois, a Salem native who’s devoted to his hometown and in particular the celebration of Halloween that takes place there every year. Unfortunately the rest of Salem, part from handful of folks, think of Hubie as a loser – often making a mockery of him and his peculiar mannerisms. However this years Halloween celebration is marred by something… spooky. An escaped mental patient and a possible werewolf next door mean that Hubie’s work to protect his town is cut out for him; especially when people start to go missing!

For longtime fans of Sandler’s oeuvre – and I consider myself as such – there are some great nods to his previous work in his latest film, the Halloween horror comedy Hubie Halloween. From the subtlety of having one of the local bullies named O’Doyle who shouts “O’Doyle Rules!” whilst chasing Sandler’s character Hubie (the same name and situation that occurred in Sandler’s early hit Billy Madison); to a pre-credits cameo from Ben Stiller, essentially playing the same “nurse” he did in Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore.

And the throwbacks don’t end there. Hubie Halloween stars actress Julie Bowen, who once again plays Sandler’s love interest here as she did in the aforementioned golfing comedy. Yet whilst it features something of a Happy Gilmore reunion, Hubie Halloween also feels like Sandler playing The Waterboy himself, Bobby Boucher, in Disney’s Hocus Pocus… Complete with a fantastic blend of laughs and scares.

And that’s probably the best way to describe Hubie Halloween, as if Bobby Boucher from The Waterboy got mixed up in a no-so-supernatural adventure during the towns Halloween festivities. Which means if you enjoyed that Adam Sandler movie you’re bound to like this one too. Because for the first time, I think, since Sandler’s deal with Netflix, he has produced a film much more like his earlier work. Maybe it’s Sandler reminiscing about his early work; maybe its because he didn’t get the appreciation for his more serious performance in Uncut Gems and decided to dive back into that early style of movie. Whatever the reason, Hubie Halloween is – despite still enjoying his Netflix output – very much a true return to form for the comedian.

So much so that, like Sandler’s early work, there’s a really great message hidden within the stupidity of Hubie Halloween: about how kindness can overcome hate, how you shouldn’t project your shortcomings, fears and worries on to others, and how we should just bloody well treat each other better. Especially now in these days of an increasingly divided society. But then that message has been at the core of a LOT of Adam Sandler’s films… It’s just a lot of people can’t see past the goofy humour and oddball characters of his movies. Maybe they should, they might see something his fans already do.

A great Adam Sandler movie and an even greater family-friendly Halloween “horror”, Hubie Halloween is available to watch on Netflix now.

**** 4/5


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