Hubie Halloween: the Return of the Sandman

Reviewing Adam Sandler’s latest Halloween flick.

Hubie Halloween, a Netflix original released earlier this month, is Adam Sandler’s latest blockbuster comedy, and is the first movie he’s acted in after starring in Uncut Gems, the critically acclaimed 2019 thriller. 

Adam Sandler is known for pretty much one thing: cheesy family friendly comedies. It’s a genre that he’s dominated for many years at this point, and as a result, the small crop of “serious” movies he’s acted in (Punch-Drunk Love, Reign Over Me, the Meyerowitz Stories) have largely flown under the radar. As a result, Adam Sandler has never really had a reputation as a talented actor, even though he arguably deserved to.

This all changed with Uncut Gems, as Adam Sandler abandoned his usual role as the goofy middle aged dad and became Howard Ratner, a New York jeweler with a crippling gambling addiction. The movie, which was written and directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, finally gave Adam Sandler a chance to prove his worth as an actor to the world. And it seems like that is what the Safdies intended, seeing as they wrote the part specifically for the Sandman.

In fact, Adam Sandler’s performance in Uncut Gems was so good, a lot of people began to speculate that it might even be Oscar-worthy. In an interview on the Howard Stern Show in December 2019, Adam Sandler seemed to agree, stating that if he didn’t win an Oscar for his performance, he would make a movie that’s “so bad on purpose” just to punish everyone. 

Unfortunately, Adam Sandler’s performance was outweighed by his reputation, and come Oscar season he didn’t even receive a nomination for best actor (in fact, Uncut Gems didn’t receive a single nomination, despite receiving high praise from critics and audiences alike). The Academy didn’t even attempt to hide the reasoning behind the snub, with one voter openly admitting that they didn’t vote for him because of his long history of acting in less serious movies. 

Fast forward to October 2020, and Hubie Halloween makes its debut on Netflix. Because it was the first Adam Sandler flick following his Oscars snub, many assumed that it was the “so bad on purpose” movie Sandler referred to in the interview last year. However, Hubie Halloween had already been shot by the time he made that comment, and he later clarified in another interview that it was just a joke anyway. He claimed he has no idea what the worst movie ever would actually look like, but did add that he’s “game to be in it.”

So where does that leave Hubie Halloween? Well, it’s definitely not the worst movie ever — in fact it’s a fairly run of the mill Sandler flick. It’s very stupid, but I enjoyed it, and as long as you’re able to not take it seriously, you’ll probably enjoy it too. Even then, there are definitely some moments that weren’t very funny, but what else can you expect from a movie where half the cast is made up of current or former SNL members? 

I’m sure some people will object to Adam Sandler’s portrayal of Hubie, who is presumably developmentally disabled, but I thought he gave a good performance. Though at first it may seem like Hubie is merely the butt of the joke,  in the end Hubie Halloween delivers a very uplifting message about standing up against bullying and staying true to yourself. 

Hubie Halloween is by no means a masterpiece, but that’s not what it was aiming for. It’s the 6th movie that Adam Sandler has made in partnership with Netflix, and seeing as the previous one, Murder Mystery, was by far the most viewed movie on Netflix in 2019, I’m sure Hubie Halloween won’t be the last one either. After all, with a few notable exceptions, Adam Sandler isn’t in the business of making great movies: he’s in the business of making Adam Sandler movies.