I have to admit to something, I never got round to watching Uncut Gems. Phew, that’s a weight off my chest. At the time that it was really doing the rounds, I was desperately trying to watch all of the Oscar nominated films and, unfortunately, it was totally ignored by the Academy. I always intended to catch up but it never happened. Not because I didn’t think it would be good but because it just seemed so heavy. I mean this year is heavy enough. The reason I bring it up is because Uncut Gems could very well be the reason that Hubie Halloween exists. Before awards season kicked off, Sandler made a vow that he would make the worst film possible if he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. 10 months on and another Netflix original hits us. So, was it really going to be the worst of his vast and often uninspiring career? There was only one way to find out.
Adam Sandler has two basic characters that he trots out for most of his movies. The first is the average Joe who, somehow, has a super hot wife but is actually fairly selfish and awful. The second, and most frequent, is his silly voiced simpleton with a heart of gold. That’s the guy we’re getting in his latest Netflix film. This time he plays Hubie Dubois alongside an all-star cast. Hubie is a classic example of Sandler’s must relied upon man-child character. He has given himself the role of town protector but, unfortunately, he’s scared of his own shadow. Every Halloween, Hubie heads out on his bike to make sure the people of Salem remain safe from harm. The people of Salem, obviously, don’t appreciate this and spend their time mocking his efforts.
Hubie is quite the pathetic human being with his special Thermos but he does at least mean well. Though that hasn’t stopped the children of the town from bullying him. Or the people he’s known since his own childhood. It’s the kind of thing that we’ve seen plenty of times before and it doesn’t offer anything new to the format. It means that the actual jokes are few and far between. Instead, it heavily relies on the repeated sight of Hubie jumping at every little thing he comes into contact with. I reckon if you took every scream out of Sandler’s script, it would have ended up being half the size. There isn’t a lot in terms of engaging content to keep you occupied.
Really, the thing you’ll be doing most when you watch this film is ticking off your names on your comedy film cameo bingo. Sandler has gathered a vast array of names to appear in the film. These range from pretty impressive (Steve Buscemi, Ray Liotta June Squibb, Ben Stiller for about 60 seconds) to the less impressive (Rob Schneider, Kevin James, Shaquille O’Neal). At least you can spend a lot of the runtime playing spot the actor.
Although that might distract you from the plot. Not that is’ overly complex but it does tie itself in knots quite a lot. There are plenty of stupid subplots that don’t really go anywhere and are simply included for a punchline that doesn’t quite work. It’s a sloppy and hectic film that doesn’t contain enough story to justify its already short runtime. Really, you can’t help but suspect that Sandler just wanted to find a way to hang out with a load of his friends and get paid. Which, really, is fair enough. It’s not a completely awful film but it just feels thrown together.
So, is Hubie Halloween the worst film Adam Sandler has ever made? No. It’s not his best by any stretch of the imagination but it’s not his worst. There are some fun moments but the majority of it is just forgettable. It won’t offend anyone but it’s not going to have you raving about it afterwards.