Hubie Halloween (2020) - USA (Netflix)
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Adam Sandler is really a hit and miss, and in recent in years, he has flared better when acting serious (say “Uncut Gems”), so the latest Netflix comedy “Hubie Halloween” comes without expectations. Partnering with director Steven Brill who have overseen numerous Sandler’s productions and in this film, we see a few long time collaborators in the form of an unrecognisable Kevin James and former love interest Julie Bowen. If that’s not enough, we get Adam Sandler in that good deeds and Mr. Responsibility mode trying hard to bring our laughters. In reality, the laughters may actually be harder to come by as the audience need to dumb down their intelligence and go back to the basics.
Adam Sandler is clinically deadpan in his execution as the goodie do-good type of person that gets bullied by everyone in the Halloween town. The problem is not Sandler’s performance, but the 5th grader film script written by yours truly, Sandler. In the 90s, Sandler comedies was a hit with the masses, but trying to rehash old material and former glory isn’t exactly going to work, when shortcuts are taken and uninteresting characters populate the screen. Kevin James is really a muppets and acts like one as the cop in town who cares more about his beard. Julie Bowen is given a lifeless role as the main love interest that ends up rather two dimensional. Ray Liotta almost embarrasses himself as a lifelong bully. The only person that leaves the film with any sort of dignity remains Sandler’s mother (played wonderfully by June Squibb).
All in all, “Hubie Halloween” feels like one of those churned out Sandler’s films where the script goes back to the mind of a 5th grader and the numerous jokes are often stretched beyond its welcome. It’s been a hallmark of recent Sandler’s Netflix films and for that matter, they are no longer anticipation. That’s not a bad thing, until, you actually sit through the entire film, trying to find a moment or two for Sandler to redeem himself. Now that’s a tougher ask.
I rated this 5/10