Victor Chavez/Getty Images for Sony Pictures Entertainment(NEW YORK) — When Pixels came out a few months ago, critics and entertainment writers alike lined up, pitchforks in hand, to tar, feather and bury Adam Sandler’s career. That reaction to Sandler’s work isn’t new — critics have been piling on for years. In some cases, Sandler deserved it, and if he keeps churning out movies as bad as Pixels, he’ll continue to deserve it. But if you’re truly judging Sander for his work and not out of blind hate for the man, the toughest critic will have to agree Hotel Transylvania 2 is an extremely likable movie.
Sandler once again is the voice of Dracula, Prince of Darkness and the proprietor of Hotel Transylvania, where just about every monster you can imagine either works, or checks in for rest and relaxation. Dracula’s daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), went ahead and married her human boyfriend, Jonathan (Andy Samberg), from the 2012 original. Naturally, they had a baby, a boy named Dennis. The question is, will Dennis remain human or will he, at the age of five, sprout his fangs and become a vampire? (Apparently, five’s the cutoff age for vampires to show fangs.)
Dracula’s certain Dennis is a vampire off the old block, but as Dennis gets closer to his fifth birthday without any sign he’s changing, Dracula begins to worry, while Mavis worries about where she’s raising her son.
For the children, director Genndy Tartakovsky’s visuals are hilariously silly. The script, provided by Sandler and his old Saturday Night Live buddy Robert Smigel, is littered with decent jokes only the adults will appreciate, while also giving kids plenty to laugh at. And if you appreciate classic monster movies, you’ll probably recognize there is, believe it or not, an intelligence to the parody here.
Sandler’s humor is generally on the same level as that of a 12-year-old boy. It’s worked for him in the past, but he seems to be at his most intelligent and organic when he’s trying to appeal to people under age 12. For years, he’s faltered when attempting to imbue his PG-13 and R-rated material with meaningful messages — something he really hasn’t been able to pull off since 2004’s 50 First Dates.
What Sandler does pull off here is an uncommon feat: a sequel that’s an improvement over the original, which itself was a solid movie. Your kids will love Hotel Transylvania 2 and you’ll like it, too — enough that if you hate Adam Sandler, you won’t hate him quite as much after you see it.
Three-and-a-half out of five stars.
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Read More →