Directed by Steven Brill
Hubie is a source of derision, mockery and bullying, despite his love of his hometown in Salem and Halloween, but when the strange things start to happen on Halloween, Hubie must rise to the challenge and save his town.
Adam Sandler goes back to what some view as his basics in this movie. Sandler is known for doing characters with weird mental and verbal quirks. I think most of that though comes more from his SNL days and the successful The Waterboy than it does from the bulk of his films.
Julie Bowen stars as the love interest in the film, Violet Valentine. In a bit of a connection to previous works, Bowen also appeared in Happy Gilmore as Virginia Venit. We have a stronger connection to Happy Gilmore with Ben Stiller reprising the role of orderly Hal L. who appeared in that film. Here he is an orderly at escapee Richie Hartman’s asylum. A very brief (and uncredited cameo) links two films.
Hubie Halloween is jam packed with random castings, Adam Sandler regulars, and SNL alumni. The only one missing is David Spade. He does not even show up for even a second. But we do have among the random castings is Ray Liotta as Mr. Landolfa who is a jerk and one of many of Hubie’s tormentors. Shaquille O’Neal shows up as the face of radio host DJ Aurora who has a sexy feminine voice (done by actress Vivian Nixon). Michael Chiklis is Father Dave and this religious figure is more than willing to engage in tormenting Hubie. Comedienne George Wallace plays Salem’s mayor. Noah Schnapp of Stranger Things plays Violet’s son Tommy. Sportscasting personality Dan Patrick plays a local elementary school principal.
Sandler regular Kevin James is Sgt. Steve Downey, a character that Hubie regularly brings “issues” up to and who happens to be Violet’s ex-husband. Rob Schneider plays Richie Hartman who escapes at the beginning of the film and allows for the Stiller cameo. Steve Buscemi is Hubie’s new neighbor Walter Lambert who believes he is a werewolf (a reference to his Hotel Transylvania character). I guess having appeared previously in The Ridiculous Six, Lavell Crawford counts. Here he is a local farmer named Dave.
The SNL alumni here include Kenan Thompson as local police officer Sgt. Blake. Tim Meadows is the bald Lester Hennessey who was a classmate of Hubie. Maya Rudolph is the bitter Mary Hennessey. SNL legend Colin Quinn is a janitor. Current cast member Melissa Villaseñor plays a cat owner named Karen that Violet hilariously threatens.
I like how they even get family members involved here. Sandler’s wife Jackie plays a local news reporter (all of whom dress up like Harley Quinn in a nod to an annoying Halloween trend). Their children play Violet’s daughters Danielle (Sadie) and Cooky (Sunny). Sandler regular (and producer here) Allen Covert plays a dad in the movie at the drive-in. His kids also show up as well as does Kevin James’s children. Ben Stiller and Ray Liotta’s daughters show up here too.
I note this because it seems to have led to a fun and humorous atmosphere. There is no way this movie should be entertaining but it is so very good. I laughed way more than I probably should admit. The jokes come steady and all the performers, even O’Neill, have great timing. The pacing is good, and the story is ludicrous without making your eyes roll. There is not a serious moment in the whole film. They go straight for the laugh. This is just a silly and mindless comedy.
My favorite recurring gag through the film are the shirts that Hubie’s mother (June Squibb) wears. The first is one that says “Boner Donor” with the rest getting increasingly silly as the movie goes on. In just about every scene she is wearing a different one that she bought in quantity from a thrift store. Stupid humor with heart is what Sandler does best in comedy. The great Leslie Nielson went headfirst into this style following Airplane! and was hit or miss in his efforts. I think the man is a legend, but Sandler consistently gets it right.
Critics have knocked Sandler for his comedy style. I admit I was not too keen on him during his SNL time, but I have really liked what I have seen since then. He has really grown as a comedic performer in my opinion and his work in films like Just Go With It shows he can do romcom and his work in Uncut Gems show he has serious dramatic ability. He is more than idiot comedy. The man has talent and can create very pleasing entertainment.
Given that the story was set in Salem, Massachusetts I certainly expected something more supernatural than what we got. And I am happy they did not go the obvious route. Sandler works best in his brand of comedy by giving the real world a twist that moves things closer to The Three Stooges. I am not sure he could have done well by moving into Ghostbusters territory.
Hubie Halloween is a hilarious Halloween comedy that goes for the laugh and sets out to entertain you. Leave your brain at the door and just enjoy it. You will have a good laugh.