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Adam Sandler (Mostly) Returns To Comedic Form With “Hubie Halloween”

You really do usually know what you’re getting with a new Adam Sandler comedy on Netflix. After all, the actor and comedian has been consistently putting his movies on to the streaming service for years, being one of the first to commit to them. Obviously, last year’s turn in Uncut Gems is an exception, but lately, Sandler has been content to have a good time and ignore those claiming he’s phoning it in. The days of his funny flicks being well liked by audiences and at least decently regarded by critics have largely disappeared. Now, Hubie Halloween comes along and actually harkens back to those days. It’s not Big Daddy, but now playing on Netflix, it’s almost certainly his most overall successful work for the streamer.

The film is a comedy with some slight horror elements to it, though at its core it’s just another Happy Madison production. Even though he loves his hometown of Salem, as well as its commitment to a large scale Halloween celebration, Hubie Dubois (Sandler) is not beloved by the town. Hubie and his good-natured vibe is a figure of mockery for both the kids and adults of Salem alike. He takes it all in stride, but it’s made for a lonely life, one spent with his mother (June Squibb), as well as one spent longing for childhood crush Violet Valentine (Julie Bowen), whom he doesn’t realize is also quite taken with him, too. Each year, Hubie volunteers to make Halloween safe, ending up the subject of numerous pranks. This year is different, though. Not only does he suspect his new neighbor Walter Lambert (Steve Buscemi) of being a werewolf, someone or something is causing havoc on October 31st, leaving it up to Hubie to save the day. Steven Brill directs a screenplay that Sandler wrote with Tim Herlihy, while Seamus Tierney handles the cinematography. The score is by frequent Sandler composer Rupert Gregson-Williams. Supporting players include Michael Chiklis, Kevin James, Ray Liotta, Tim Meadows, Shaquille O’Neal, Maya Rudolph, Rob Schneider, Ben Stiller, Keenan Thompson, and more.

Adam Sandler is more charming here than you might expect. With a silly voice and odd demeanor, it could have been one of his more grating characters, but he has Hubie grow on you. Certain gags fall flat, but a running gag involving his thermos being a swiss army knife, capable of doing pretty much anything, mostly hits home. Everything here is fairly dumb, but more often than not, it’s funny too. That’s Sandler’s sweet spot, and while this isn’t a new classic of his, the hits overcome the misses. Plus, it’s adorable to see it as a family affair for him, with his wife and daughters having small yet noticeable parts.

Hubie Halloween has a surprising amount of sweetness to it. Sandler may have Hubie get mocked throughout, but you’re always on his side, and the ending is well deserved. You may roll your eyes a lot, especially at the beginning, but by the end, you’ll almost certainly be smiling. That’s what you get from the best of the Happy Madison lot, and again, while this isn’t their top tier, it’s better than their other Netflix products, which does count for something. Plus, with this many funny people in the cast, even by accident you’ll wind up laughing.

Now playing on Netflix, Hubie Halloween will satisfy Adam Sandler fans, for sure. It won’t convert anyone who isn’t amused by Sandler and his pals, but if you like him, you’ll probably like this, too. It’s just that simple. If you’re in the mood to giggle, give this one a spin.

Be sure to check out Hubie Halloween, now streaming on Netflix!

(Photos courtesy of Netflix)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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