A word of warning: this review may contain minor spoilers for the movie if you haven’t seen it already.
Hubie Halloween is the latest entry in Adam Sandler’s acting catalogue, starring Sandler as Hubie Dubois, an intellectually disabled man who focuses on ensuring that the denizens of Salem, MA have a safe Halloween despite being easily scared and the object of the town’s ridicule. It also features the usual suite of actors related to his comedy productions (David Spade, Kevin James and Steve Buscemi amongst others).
Unfortunately, the comedy falls flat due to its problematic premise of an intellectually disabled person being the butt of an entire town’s jokes despite good natured intentions, to quote the character of Miss Taylor, played by China Ann McClain after Hubie gets bombarded by food at an elementary school, “To be fair, he overstayed his welcome.” Despite a forced attempt at reconciliation near the ending, the various gags and jokes that would have made it an entertaining movie end up losing their punch. This leads the movie to fail to portray itself as anything more than a distasteful, Halloween-flavoured knock-off of Billy Madison.
The only momentum that this movie has over its one-and-a-half-hour course are the running gags and “plot twists” in the film, which make it a very watchable Halloween movie.
Hubie’s thermos would put any of MacGyver’s improvised tools to shame and might have been a better fit in a spy comedy than a Halloween movie. It’s a grappling hook, a flamethrower, vacuum, telescope, and shovel amongst other things. It’s like a swiss army knife combined with the space of the TARDIS from Doctor Who, and every scene in the movie where Hubie uses it is an absolute gem.
It’s also worth pointing out that Sandler had an excellent idea in recycling cast members from his other films to play characters in this one. A viewer can tell that the actors meshed extremely well with each other based on the characters: It’s all very friendly and there’s no extreme in dynamics between them, though the movie may have been made a bit better by a slightly bigger push in conflict.
This leads to the last decent thing about this movie: the plot. About halfway through it appeared to be matching the low expectations that was set for it, but after the secrets and backgrounds of various characters were fleshed out (albeit in the last quarter of the film), the movie really tied its ending into a nice twist. The only drawback to this is that the viewer, at least seven times out of ten, will know that the antagonist is not who it’s set up to be from about the first third of the film based on the cinematography.
In summary, Hubie Halloween is not a great movie. It might barely be a good movie if not for its problematic premise and stale characterization of Hubie who relies too much on supporting characters and plot devices (God bless the thermos). It might not be someone’s first pick to watch for a Halloween movie, but I would definitely put it fourth from the bottom on a seasonal watch list (sincere apologies to Ernest Scared Stupid, The Witches, and Halloween Town High, but don’t think you’ve been outdone).