In an uncertain world, there is one thing movie fans can always rely on: another Adam Sandler comedy. The actor is coming off a ton of acclaim for his lead performance in Uncut Gems that almost led Sandler to Oscar glory. If you’ve been following along, the actor joked that if he didn’t get the awards everyone was buzzing about, he would make ‘em pay with a bad movie “on purpose.” So… did he do it? How’s Hubie Halloween?
Adam Sandler’s latest movie with Netflix is a Halloween-themed comedy packed with his funny friends, such as Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Rob Schneider and Maya Rudolph, just to scratch the surface here. Sandler himself plays Hubie Dubois, a goofy resident of Salem, Massachusetts who is bullied by the denizens of his spooky town, but nonetheless makes it his duty to protect them from the threats of Halloween night.
Now let's delve into how Hubie Halloween's being critically received. Starting off, CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg gave the film a 2.5 in his review and said he was bummed to see Adam Sandler go back to basics after his performance in Uncut Gems. In his words:
After the daring leap off the high dive that was Uncut Gems, Hubie Halloween is a return to the kiddie pool for Adam Sandler, and while it’s not exactly surprising, it is most definitely frustrating. The movie may surprise people who go in with basement level expectations, but it’s also not exactly heralding a new comedic era for the star.
For the record, Adam Sandler does not always have a great track record with critics. Last year’s Murder Mystery, for example was a flop in the eyes of reviewers, but it still became a record-breaking title for Netflix. Chances are Hubie is the streaming service's next hit, but it sounds like what you’ll see in it won’t be anything you have not seen before from the actor.
On the other side of the spectrum, Indiewire’s David Ehrlich gave the movie a passing B-, calling it the movie “America needs right now.” In his words:
Sure, Hubie Halloween feels like it was written in the span of a single afternoon by two middle-aged men wearing gym shorts, but at least they included a scene where Ray Liotta refers to Sandler’s dim-witted hero as “Pubie Dubois.”
Ehrlich admitted while he might just be drunk on the movie’s “pumpkin-spiced production design,” he enjoyed the comedy much more than other comedic offerings from the actor. This is a statement Polygon’s Karen Han echoed in her review of Hubie Halloween. Here’s what she had to say:
Hubie Halloween doesn’t ultimately have too much to offer besides a brief, minimally spooky distraction, but it’s better than some of Sandler’s other Netflix flicks (The Do-Over, The Ridiculous 6). It has more in common with the best of his Netflix efforts so far, Sandy Wexler, in how earnest its energy is.
It sounds like Adam Sandler’s latest movie, which he wrote with his frequent collaborator, Tim Herlihy (The Wedding Singer, Happy Gilmore, Mr. Deeds, The Waterboy, Billy Madison), has a good dose of heart that may save it, depending on how critically you watch it. Per The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore, big fans of the duo's early work together might especially get a kick out of Hubie:
With the exception of a surprisingly useful thermos, nearly no joke in the film will be remembered the next day. But Hubie is good company for old fans who've visited Happy and Billy too often to be surprised by their foibles and unlikely feats.
Hubie Halloween probably won’t be on a lot of Top 10 lists like Uncut Gems was, but in the end, it looks like it’s an entertaining enough entry into the comedian’s catalog that will amuse in the moment. We’ll close with Guy Lodge of Variety, who had this to say:
Nobody’s breaking a sweat here, but even on autopilot, Sandler’s mugging is sort of exhaustingly impressive on its own terms. The actor’s recent change-of-pace role in Uncut Gems may have earned him critical plaudits for “real” acting, but there’s method and skill in this kind of shrill physical showmanship, even when it appears to be his default setting.
Hubie Halloween is currently streaming on Netflix. Check out what else is coming to the platform during the month of October and CinemaBlend’s exclusive interviews with the cast of the film.