“Hubie Halloween” is Netflix’s newest film for the upcoming holiday, starring comedian turned award-winning dramatic actor turned comedian Adam Sandler. The film surrounds a man named Hubie Dubois who patrols Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween night to make sure every citizen is safe.
If you have ever seen an Adam Sandler comedy before you know what you’re getting into with this film. Sandler plays the lead as he usually does, playing as a sort of juvenile, immature adult. This characterization can get a bit bothersome and, though it is subjective, is not that strong comedically.
It’s just tough to say much about this movie. It’s an Adam Sandler comedy. Most of the comedic situations are due to the wacky hijinks of the main character and supporting characters making fun of said character. It isn’t that deep or that particularly clever, but the number of recognizable people in the supporting cast makes it at least somewhat interesting.
The acting is a key issue for the film, though much of it can be attributed to poor writing. Julie Bowen particularly stands out as her performance is not great, but her character is written quite poorly so it is not completely her fault. The whole cast is full of actors who have shown some talent in general but choose not to show it in this film.
Plot-wise, the film is not great. There are at least a few through lines and some decent set-up and pay-off, but it isn’t a completely cohesive plot line. The focus often shifts between characters and situations which makes it feel disconnected at times. Thematically speaking, the movie does a decent job at delivering a strong message, which is one of its biggest strengths. The issue is that the situations during the film that relate to the thematic message are played for comedic purposes, which detract from the meaning and make the film feel a bit hypocritical. The storyline, other than a few aspects of it, is pretty predictable but it also was played that way, like it was written to be uncreative.
That’s what makes this film and Adam Sandler’s career interesting to look further into.
Why purposely make a film with little effort?
The answer: money and Netflix.
Adam Sandler and his company Happy Madison Productions have mastered the method of drawing an audience, even with movies that aren’t well received. A prime example of this phenomenon is 2011’s Jack and Jill, which famously received only single digits on Rotten Tomatoes. Even with its terrible critical reception, it still earned close to $150 million dollars worldwide. The same thing rings true for 2013’s Grown Ups 2, garnering only 7% on Rotten Tomatoes while grossing close to $250 million worldwide.
There isn’t a wide consensus on why these comedies draw such large crowds (perhaps it’s due to Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Rob Schneider’s inspiring collective charisma) compared to others, but Netflix doesn’t care the slightest about that. All they care about is viewership and subscribers to garner more revenue, which these films do quite well.
That makes Netflix and Happy Madison Productions a perfect match. Netflix doesn’t care about what critics think. They only care about the subscriber data and it seems like they are liking it. One of Sandler’s recent Netflix releases, Murder Mystery, reportedly garnered over 30 million views on Netflix on its opening weekend. Now, Netflix’s view count isn’t the most accurate as it counts only a few minutes watched as a single view, but you can’t deny the fact that it had its audience. These movies are profitable for Netflix and can be made with relatively little effort put into story and plot from Sandler and co. Those two things are a recipe for success for both Netflix and Happy Madison Productions.
In conclusion, while “Hubie Halloween” is not a great film by any means, it is interesting to dive into how and why it was created. It doesn’t earn a recommendation, but it did earn a deeper investigation.