“Hubie Halloween” fails to be funny

Nolan Fullington, Opinion Writer

“Hubie Halloween” is a Netflix “Halloween” “comedy” starring “Adam Sandler” and all of his friends who I’m sure all got nice paychecks.

Hubie Dubois (Sandler) is a devoted citizen to the town of Salem, but has become a figure of mockery due to his overprotectiveness and oddball personality, essentially an amalgamation of every other character Sandler has portrayed. However, Salem needs Hubie more than ever when two subplots that have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film become a huge threat that isn’t actually a threat.

Over the years, I’ve been mean to Adam Sandler and I promised to stop long ago when I wrote on “The Week Of” because there isn’t much else to say at this point. However, Sandler then starred in “Uncut Gems,” which was a phenomenal film. Without a doubt, a career-best performance.

Hubie Halloween Official release poster

Unfortunately, Sandler did not get nominated at the Academy Awards in the “Best Actor” category, so he vowed to make a film that was “so intentionally terrible.” I just wanted to see if this was the film he was talking about. This probably wasn’t, seeing that this film was far into production before the nominations were even announced; however, this film does feel like a punishment.

There is so much to unpack about this film, and I have no idea where to begin, because it’s a comedy where everything in the film is so unfunny that it comes back around to being funny again because the attempts at comedy were so pathetic that it was laughable. The word “pathetic” was going through my mind a lot while watching this film.

The reason why I don’t shrug something like this off as “another Adam Sandler film” is because we all know he can do better. We’ve seen “Punch Drunk Love,” “Uncut Gems” and even “Funny People.” So that means he knows when he’s making something awful, but he continues to do so anyway.

This entire film just felt so weird because the comedy is just so bad. It’s like they tried as hard as they could to make it as bad as possible. There are fart jokes, people falling down, puking, poop jokes, pee jokes; all things we’ve seen before from Happy Madison Productions — nothing new there. Just the execution of it all was so odd, and I was never sure when I was supposed to be laughing.

In terms of story, this is about as clever as an episode of “Scooby-Doo” from, like, fifty years ago. This film also thinks it’s like “The Usual Suspects” throwing red herrings around. Two characters in particular are only there so they can be red herrings and have no impact on the plot at all, but at least Adam Sandler’s friends got paid — one of which I suspected was Rob Schneider or David Spade. Then there was an off-putting cameo from Ben Stiller, who also seemed to be acting horrible on purpose.

Speaking of Adam Sandler’s friends, let’s talk about Kevin James who shows up in a comically bad wig and beard that was so awful-looking, it made me laugh so hard that I had to pause the film. James was also in a somewhat serious film recently called “Becky.” And like Sandler in “Uncut Gems,” they blew any prestige they received from those films at the same time by being in “Hubie Halloween.”

James is a part of this subplot with the Mayor where the Mayor doesn’t want to acknowledge that people are disappearing because he wants to keep parties going and keep people spending money? It doesn’t make sense and it’s hardly brought up. It’s literally the subplot from “Jaws” and, again, it was a pathetic attempt at “homaging.”

The amount of horror film references in this film was also revolting. Not just “Jaws,” but “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Halloween,” “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” “IT” and a whole bunch more. They even play the “Ghostbusters” theme, which gave me uncomfortable chills. It’s the fact this film fails to be its own thing while constantly “paying homage” to much better horror films I’d rather be watching that I found to be problematic. Also, why was there a poster of “Smokey and the Bandit” in Hubie’s room?

This entire film also feels like one season of a television show, because, like a television show, there are, like, twenty characters we follow in this film and every single one has a subplot. It was so messy and mishandled. The film’s pacing and structure issues made it even harder to watch.

Sandler himself in the film is utterly grading. His entire performance feels like mumblecore. I don’t mind Sandler just playing himself in movies and acting bored, but when he does that weird voice and dumb faces, it’s the most annoying thing to me. I’m really tired of talking about Sandler like this, but he keeps making these kinds of films.

The number one rule of comedy is juxtaposition. What this film screws up most is not having a contrast to Sandler’s wacky character. In the film, Hubie is supposed to be the “weird one,” but everyone in the film is wacky and odd, which makes for zero contrast. Having everyone be funny leads to nobody being funny. That’s the foundational issue here.

And along with every other Happy Madison film, the movie ends with an overly-sentimental scene that hits you over the head twenty times with its message. However, this film does have the message of just being nice to people, which I’m totally contradicting here, but it is a nice message.

The cinematography also looks good. This is not “Jack and Jill” where everything is evenly lit. It’s a shame that the cinematography is in service to a comedy where nothing is funny. But I can’t imagine being a director on a Happy Madison production. That’s the equivalent of directing traffic.

This film was utterly grading. Probably the worst film I’ve seen so far this year, but for the cinematography and the message of being kind, it just saved itself from pure hatred.

However, I can see how some people may enjoy this film and that’s okay. My opinion is not right or wrong, it’s an opinion. I just found it to be so unfunny, which comedy is very subjective. If you enjoy it, that’s fine. Don’t let my opinion hinder your experience.