In Hubie Halloween
, Adam Sandler gets to play one of his favorite comedic character types - The socially awkward loner loser who's a super nice guy, talks with a lisp, and despite being generally disrespected by everyone he comes in contact with, wishes harm on nobody. His character, Hubie Dubois, is basically Sandler's characters from The Waterboy
and Little Nicky
, just tweaked a little to be slightly less annoying. Maybe he's mellowing out a little with middle age.
That being said, the guy Sandler is playing is harmless, and so is the movie itself, which plays kind of like a Greatest Hits of the actor's past success. Not only is his character familiar, but a large number of his friends who have acted in several of his past movies make appearances throughout. You get the sense that the vibe on the set was kind of like a bunch of friends getting together to be silly and have fun. The movie is largely hit and miss, but I have to admit, I did smile quite a lot through it. It's eager to please, has a couple good gags, and really just wants to help you forget your troubles for 100 minutes with a goofy comedy featuring horror undertones. It's probably one of the better comedies Sandler has done recently, and if I were 13-years-old, this would probably be a new seasonal favorite. That last sentence probably tells you whether you're the audience for this.
As is to be expected with a Happy Madison Production, the film's hero is a weirdo who constantly means well, and is usually the butt of jokes of numerous bullies. Hubie Dubois rides his bike through his hometown of Salem, and basically has been the unofficial safety monitor for the entire town every Halloween. He gives lectures to children about proper candy etiquette, he makes sure everyone is playing safe, and he crashes teen parties just so he can warn them about the dangers of underage drinking. Naturally, this makes Hubie a prime victim for bullying and pranks. Not just from the kids either, but basically every adult in Salem who grew up around him hates the guy. In one of the film's funnier running gags, every time Hubie is riding his bike, off camera kids throw stuff at him as he passes. The things they throw start out simple, such as toilet paper and eggs. But by the end of the film, he's dodging computer monitors and flaming arrows being flung at his head by unseen assailants.
Hubie lives with his loving mother (June Squibb), who seems to have a huge collection of inappropriate and obscene T-shirts that she doesn't understand the meaning of. He also longs after the sweet Violet Valentine (Julie Bowen), the most popular girl in his high school class back in the day, who is now a single mother to some foster kids. As Halloween approaches, Hubie is getting ready to keep the streets safe in his own way. But this year, there's something sinister afoot. There's talk of an escaped mental patient roaming the streets wearing a creepy pig mask, and Hubie's shady new neighbor (Steve Buscemi) seems nervous about the coming full moon, and is boarding up his windows. And when some of the local kids and adults start disappearing under mysterious circumstances, it could be up to Hubie alone to save his town.
With its Halloween atmosphere and horror tone, Hubie Halloween
does seem a little bit more eventful than some of the usual comedies to come from Sandler's production company, such as That's My Boy
or Jack and Jill
. Regardless, in case you're thinking this might be a more high class product, there's still time for jokes here built around dog droppings and urine-stained bed sheets. This comes with the Sandler territory, but there are some genuinely funny moments here as well. As is to be expected, the film is packed to the gills with a lot of the star's former Saturday Night Live
castmates, as well as friends who have appeared in many of his films. Kevin James, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph, Ben Stiller, and naturally Rob Schneider all turn up throughout the film, although a lot of them are not being used to their best here. There's even a very bizarre cameo for Shaquille O'Neal. Of the cast, only Buscemi and James seem to be having as much fun as Sandler is. The rest are just happy to be there.
Still, there is a certain laid back goofy charm to the film that held my attention throughout, even if the movie was never quite as funny as it could have been. I especially liked Hubie's multi-purpose thermos, which is tricked out like a spy gadget with solutions for every situation our hero finds himself in. There's also a nice anti-bullying message here that manages to come through the silliness of the entire film. It never offends, never gets too gross, and will probably be a big hit with kids up to a certain age. For adults who grew up on the star's early comedies, this is a nice throwback to when he made likable dumb movies, instead of movies that played solely to the lowest level of intelligence.
I can't exactly label Hubie Halloween
a success, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it kind of worked with me on some level. It's a likable and harmless way to kick off the holiday, and it does have a certain silly charm. You can tell that the cast is having a lot of fun here, and that spirit does manage to carry through to the audience.