Yet another ghoulish comedy bomb for Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler jokingly warned the media that if his performance in “Uncut Gems” doesn’t get any Oscar or Golden Globe nominations, he would deliberately make a horrible movie. I don’t think it would make any difference, since his most recent comedies find homes in Netflix’s vomitorium. “Hubie Halloween” is the latest addition, and it’s no surprise that it’s a bad one.
First of all, the premise is mean-spirited. Sandler, using a lame version of his Canteen Boy accent, plays Hubie, the nicest guy in Salem and the most ridiculed. The cops (Kevin James and Kenan Thompson) are annoyed by him, a local bully (Ray Liotta) calls him “Pubie,” and the kids throw eggs and poop bombs at him. It’s like he’s a victim of the Salem witch trials, like his ancestor, minus the hangings and burnings, but a cavalcade of mocking, teasing, ignoring, and throwing things. Nice people like don’t deserve abuse like that, and seeing the movie succumb to this kind of humor is an unhappy experience for me.
The only few people to like him are his mom (June Squibb), who tells him to stand up for himself, a recently divorced mother (Julie Bowen), whom he has a crush on, her foster kids (Noah Schnapp, and Sandler’s daughters Sadie and Sunny), who are generic movie children, and a seemingly nice old man (Steve Buscemi), who just moved next door to Hubie.
Next up, the premise is cheesy and formulaic, and sounds like something out of the Madea Halloween movies. A psychopath (Rob Schneider) breaks out of the hospital, the nice old man is a werewolf, and people are being abducted by a mysterious force. So, Hubie has to play detective.
You also get a variety of wasted talents, like Ben Stiller reprising his “Happy Gilmore” role as the orderly Hal L., Tim Meadows and Maya Rudolph as a bullying couple, George Wallace as the mayor of Salem (a lazy rip-off of Mayor Vaughn in “Jaws”), Michael Chiklis as the local preacher, and Shaquille O’Neal as a DJ using a fake woman’s voice on the air.
The one thing I did like is Hubie’s thermos, which not only holds soup or coffee, but also works like a vacuum, a hairdryer, a grapple hook gun, a megaphone, and a monocular, among many other things. It even has a retractable leash, so he doesn’t loose it. It looks and sounds cool, but it also seems phony-Happy Madison stuff-so it’s not a visionary wonder. And neither is this comedy.
Sandler has made guilty pleasures in the past (“Big Daddy,” “Happy Gilmore,” etc.), and he can give profound performances like in “Punch Drunk Love” or “Uncut Gems,” but his latest movies are so desperate and unlikable that it’s difficult for anyone to enjoy them. “Hubie Halloween” is a mean movie about mean characters picking on a nice guy, and it’s given an obvious message about treating nice people the way you would like to be treated. They should have been nice to this guy to begin with, even if Sandler does wastes his talents and potential.
Bowen is presented as a lame crush, who likes this goofball, and she’s written by amateurs. Liotta is also demeaning, while Rudolph says insulting things to Meadow’s character nonstop. And James has to be the irritated cop who loves his Hershey’s Kisses (“I only have 30 left,” he says) than he does on listening to Hubie’s helpful advice. You’d be better off having delinquents TPing your house on Mischief Night then watching this mess.