hubie halloween | steven brill | tim herlihy | adam sandler | kevin james | julie bowen | halloween | comedy | fantasy | mystery | united states | ray liotta | steve buscemi | rob schneider | maya rudolph | tim meadows | michael chiklis | june squibb | george wallace
Film: Hubie Halloween
Director: Steven Brill
Writer: Tim Herlihy and Adam Sandler
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Julie Bowen
This is a movie that I really only watched because of my Halloween episode for Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast. I realized that I needed to do something for the holiday and I couldn’t find a 2020 release that was focused on it. This one I really debated hard and figured it would be horror enough. The synopsis here is despite his devotion to his hometown of Salem (and its Halloween celebration), Hubie Dubois (Adam Sandler) is a figure of mocker for kids and adults alike. But this year, something is going bump in the night and it’s up to Hubie to save Halloween.
We start this off at a mental hospital. Orderly Hal (Ben Stiller) busts into a room to find that the resident there is missing. He calls it in that Richie Hartman (Rob Schneider) has escaped. This information gets relayed that he’s coming back to Salem to the officer in charge, Sgt. Steve Downey (Kevin James).
In this town though, we’re following around Hubie. He loves the holiday, but he’s bullied by everyone. We see him as he has to dodge things that kids throwing at him, one of which is Andy O’Doyle (Tyler Crumley). Hubie is great at avoiding things, but he tends to get distracted and crash his bike. The first time is due to seeing Violet Valentine (Julie Bowen). He’s had a crush on her since the second grade and she was the nicest girl in school.
Some background here is that Violet was married to Sgt. Downey. They’re now divorced and she has adopted 3 children. There is Tommy (Noah Schnapp), Danielle (Sadie Sandler) and Cooky (Sunny Sandler). She has a crush on Hubie, but he doesn’t seem to notice it.
Hubie really has a rough go at it though and I can’t stress that enough. He is bullied by Mr. Landolfa (Ray Liotta), Mrs. Hennessey (Maya Rudolph), Lester Hennessey (Tim Meadows), Father Dave (Michael Chiklis), Deli Mike Mundi (Karan Brar) and pretty much all the kids too. He just wants everyone to enjoy Halloween and despite what he goes through, he keeps a positive outlook. He also has his Inspector Gadget thermos that is like a Swiss army knife and has different machines that can be used from it.
He does still live with his mother, June Squibb. She wants him to toughen up before she passes on, but it doesn’t seem likely. Things start to get weird though when Walter Lambert (Steve Buscemi) moves in next door. He says some weird things to Hubie about ignoring weird sounds coming from his house. There is also Richie Hartman coming back as well.
Halloween starts off as it normally does with Hubie out trying to police people to do the right things. We learn that he’s a bit of a snitch, which doesn’t help him. People around him start to disappear. He thinks it is Walter and Hubie believes him to be a werewolf. What is really happening on this spooky night in Salem?
Upon finishing this movie, it is really hard to call this a horror movie. I’m still going to include it as it does play with a lot of elements and since I would consider Ernest Scared Stupid, then I have to include this. It really is in the same vein as like Hocus Pocus in that it is a family friendly horror movie. What is weird is that it feels like if you watered down Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore so you could watch it with children of all ages.
There is a good Halloween feel here though for sure. Placing it in Salem was good. Having the backdrop of witches, werewolves or something supernatural really helps there. Don’t come in expecting it to be too scary though, because you will be disappointed. What I will give though is the uplifting message it gives. Hubie is bullied his whole life, but no matter what he stays positive. It is easier said than done for sure. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I teared up a bit at the end.
What did make me chuckle here is all the references to previous movies from Sandler’s universe. James obvious has been in Grown-Ups. Bowen was in Happy Gilmore. Buscemi and Schneider are long time guys who’ve made at least cameos in many of his films. Meadows knew them as well from Saturday Night Live. They brought back O’Doyle from Billy Madison. Stiller is his character from Happy Gilmore. It also seems like there’s a person dressed in a haunted house as the demon like things from Little Nicky.
There are also references in my opinion to classic horror films as well. Not necessarily a horror film, but there’s the troupe that Hubie is the boy who cried wolf with his snitching on people. Richie Hartman acts similar to Michael Myers from Halloween. He is wearing a pig mask which could be Motel Hell or Saw. There’s a car scene similar to Christine. There is also another aspect with tracing a phone call to be like Black Christmas. I’m also thinking with the radio station is homage to The Fog. There is a reveal that I can’t here without going into spoilers, but it is another from the slasher genre. Another that isn’t a movie reference is the call letters to the radio station are WTCH.
I’ll move this over to the acting. It was fun. No one really stood out or do anything to blow me away. Sandler is playing another of his characters, just doing the voice a bit different. James is fine as this peaked in high school cop. Bowen is still quite attractive. She does a lot of overacting. Liotta, Buscemi, Schneider, Rudolph, Meadows, Chiklis, Squibb, George Wallace, Kenan Thompson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kym Whitley, Lavell Crawford, Dan Patrick and the rest are all fine in their cameo roles. I did have to confirm it first, Paris Berelc is quite attractive.
There’s not really a lot in the way of effects. The look and feel of Halloween is there. That ambience works for me. The CGI used for Hubie when he’s dodging things is a bit much and didn’t really hold up. I’m not a big fan of the cheesiness with his thermos that he has. There is a supernatural aspect that I think they should have a fleshed out a bit. I think I get what they’re meaning, but something more would have worked better. The cinematography is fine aside from that.
I will also give credit to the soundtrack of the movie. They use things like Monster Mash, The Purple People Eater, Ghostbusters’ theme, Twilight Zone’s Main Theme and Werewolves of London to just name a few. This also probably helped with the feel of the movie as well.
So now with that said, is this a great movie? No, it doesn’t even rank near the top of Sandler movies for me. What I will say though is that they did a pretty solid family film that has horror elements and really embodies the feel of Halloween. It has a good message. There are some fun cameos. I think it could have gone just a bit farther with some stuff, but I’m not really the target. For me, I’d say this is just over average for me. It is fun with a good message, just lacking something to really make it stand out.
My Rating: 6 out of 10