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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's lots of crass humor, language, bullying, and mean behavior in Adam Sandler's Hubie Halloween. Though main character Hubie (Sandler) is a cheerful, kind, and brave man who succeeds in the end, Sandler, who is abled, plays him as if he has a mental disability. That's a problematic representation, and it also makes Hubie the target of constant cruelty (insults, pranks, having things thrown at him) from both kids and adults, including the local priest. The nasty behavior extends to other characters, with teens and couples treating each other callously and a teacher insulting a student in front of his classmates. Fart, poop, and erection jokes abound, and no opportunity is missed for vulgarity: A ghost sheet has pee stains, a dog eats its own poop, a hot dog is positioned on a bed where a man's penis would be, and Hubie's mom cluelessly wears used T-shirts with crude sexual sayings on them. There's also some kissing and lots of mild Halloween-themed scares. Teens drink and smoke at a Halloween party. Language includes potty talk, plus "s--t," "boner," "balls," "boogers," "ass," "buffoon," "suck," "peckerhead," "dummy," "boobie," "idiot," "crap," and "t-tty-twister."
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What's the story?
Hubie Dubois (Adam Sandler) considers himself responsible for monitoring activities every Halloween in his historic hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, in HUBIE HALLOWEEN. Hubie still lives with his mom and carries a multipurpose Thermos with him everywhere, which -- combined with his implied mental disability -- makes him the target of constant teasing and bullying by town locals. The only people who see his kind heart are his mom (June Squibb) and his local crush, foster mom Violet Valentine (Julie Bowen). As Halloween hits this year, Hubie grapples with a new and suspicious neighbor (Steve Buscemi), a local inmate on the run (Rob Schneider), and people disappearing in strange ways.
Is it any good?
Nobody plays a kindhearted but simpleminded character like Sandler, which this movie proves once again. Though, really, it's more than time for the abled Sandler to quit playing characters who have implied mental disabilities. Squarely targeting the teen (or tween) male audience, Hubie Halloween offers a mishmash of Halloween hijinks, potty talk, anatomical humor, and celebrity cameos. Viewers are expected to laugh as Hubie is bullied and insulted for an hour and a half. The onslaught of meanness is intended to make his largesse at the end of the movie that much more heroic, and the near absence of redeeming qualities in other characters is meant to make their ultimate confessions of insecurities more satisfying. But none of it is particularly funny or satisfying. It's mostly tiring, sometimes disturbing, and, at moments, very insensitive.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the moral of Hubie Halloween. Did the townsfolk learn their lesson?
Did the character of Hubie remind you of any other characters played by Adam Sandler? Why is it problematic for an abled person to play a character with a disability? Are there exceptions? Why, or why not?
How is bullying portrayed here? Do you think it's ever funny to see someone get bullied? Why, or why not?
There are a lot of other movies referenced in this film. Can you name any?
- On DVD or streaming: October 7, 2020
- Cast: Adam Sandler, Julie Bowen, Steve Buscemi
- Director: Stephen Brill
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Holidays, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude and suggestive content, language and brief teen partying.
- Last updated: October 22, 2020
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