Released: 7th October
Seen: 8th October
Late in 2019 during an interview with Howard Stern, Adam Sandler made what can only be seen as a threat. A threat that if he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Uncut Gems that he would come back to make the worst film he’s ever made, which is scary considering that he has already made a movie that got a 0% on RT and almost a half dozen films that don’t even go up to double digits. The idea of the worst film that Adam Sandler could come up with is absolutely terrifying and since he was one of the infamous snubs of the 2020 Oscars it’s been a matter of time, just waiting to see if Sandler would follow through with his threat to perform cinematic terrorism upon an unsuspecting audience. So when Hubie Halloween dropped I wondered if maybe this was it, was this going to be the worst film ever? Well, no because this started being filmed in July of 2019 before the threat was made but it’s still not that good.
Hubie Halloween follows the ultimate loser Hubie Dubois (Adam Sandler) who is hated by literally everyone in his town, both adults and children alike. He is constantly trying to help out his community by reporting any crime he finds to the police, who also really hate him and try to get him to never talk to them. On Halloween night, Hubie’s favourite night, people in the town keep going missing and it’s up to Hubie and his stupid voice to save them.
While it isn’t the worst thing that Sandler’s ever been involved in, it’s still mostly a miss for me. Most of the worst parts of this film can just go down to how annoying Sandler’s voice is. He sounds like someone shot him full of novocaine and he’s desperately trying to avoid biting his own tongue when he talks. Maybe for a 5-minute sketch this voice choice would be acceptable but 90 minutes of it is outright torture. It doesn’t match the tone of the film or the age of the character, this kind of shit worked back when Sandler was a 30 year old and this schtick was new but now he’s 50 and it’s tired and unfunny.
It’s not helping that most of the script is just a mess. They’re going for a cartoony tone which does mean that the more outlandish jokes at least feel like they fit, but they also get repetitive quickly and most of the time they just don’t work. Sometimes one of the other comics pulls out a good performance, it shouldn’t be a shock that Maya Rudolph and June Squibb were able to take the lines they were given and actually get a laugh based on their delivery but they’re the only ones who really come out of this looking good. Everyone else either phones it in, doesn’t get any lines that could be made funny or just look distractingly out of place.
You can definitely see where there was the starts of an idea, a halloween murder mystery comedy is something that could work really well and this is a cast chock full of people who are normally very funny but they’re being directed by Steven Brill who has never made a good film and doesn’t seem to know how to get good performances out of people (but he’s clearly friends with Sandler, which explains how he keeps getting work). There was potential here, but for some reason every opportunity that this film had was squandered.
Fortunately, Hubie Halloween isn’t the worst thing that Sandler has ever made (though a large part of that is due to how low he’s set that bar) but it’s still not good. It’s only sporadically humorous and often just dull. It’s mostly dragged down by a horrible performance choice by the lead that never works on any level. I fear for what we’ll end up getting when Sandler makes good on his threat, but this isn’t that… it’s just a regular bad Sandler movie.