Do a Shot: for every physical pratfall.
Take a Fireball: when Andy Samberg almost sabotages the film; you’ll need it.
Shotgun a Beer: for the epic action-packed ending
Down a 32 oz.: when the great Mel Brooks makes his entrance like a classic performer.
By: Jake Turner (Two Beers) –
I’m realizing that Adam Sandler will never apologize for the last 8 years of mediocrity and wasting moviegoers’ time with tripe like the Grown Ups franchise, The Cobbler, and the wretched That’s My Boy. However, then I see one of his animated films and all is forgiven, because I am here to say that I am a big fan of 2013’s Hotel Transylvania, and Sandler’s animation career even going back to his Eight Crazy Nights. The newest example, Hotel Transylvania 2, was once again the kind of cinematic junk food that delivers the laughs and wit.
Let’s start off with the versatile Sandler, once again. Yes, I said versatile. Sandler is back again as Count Dracula running his beloved hotel for monsters. He has just given away his only daughter, Mavis (solidly voiced by Selena Gomez) to the slacker Jonathan (Andy Samberg). He’s become a grandfather and now is waiting very, very “patiently” for his little grandson, Dennis to “grow his fangs” and carry on the family name while Mavis just wants Dennis to be himself. Sandler is terrific and lovable as Dracula. He just fits the part, but throws a satirical side to the character as well, such as Dracula having trouble functioning with a cellphone or watching his boyhood vampire camp become a politically correct summer vampire camp that rips upon the “everyone is a winner” culture of today. Co-writing with the great Robert Smigel, they put in some old vs new school clashes including a dark forest becoming a hipster park where his fellow monsters aren’t scary to anyone (to the point that two joggers want a selfie with Frankenstein). Ha-ha, zing.
All I see is dollar signs… all I see is dollar signs.
Credit director Genndy Tartakovsky (The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory) for bringing his gifted fast-paced direction, once again. I can tell these two collaborators were big fans of Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbara cartoons with their sheer willingness to focus on the physical pratfalls and the flashback set-ups of certain characters messing up. Even at age 29, it still makes me laugh myself silly. Thankfully, this movie moves at a fast clip and makes good use of its terrific animation at the same time. One big highlight is the action-packed ending involving all of the characters
If only Pixels would have been animated.
Most of the voice work is spot on and sounding like everyone was having a blast together (for the 2nd time), especially when you hear the likes of Kevin James (Frankenstein), David Spade (the Invisible Man), Jon Lovitz (Phantom of the Opera), Keegan Michael-Key (Murray, the Mummy), and Dana Carvey (Dana), and even the great Mel Brooks drops by (as Dracula’s granddad, Vlad). Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman also make good use of their little screen time as Jonathan’s parents, especially Offerman with his monotone delivery of an annoyed father who knows his wife is trying too hard to impress, but stays by her side.
Again, I may just sound like I’m nitpicking. I don’t like it when I am watching a family film and as I embody my childhood, I get zapped back to being an adult with glaring issues like mixed messages and certain actors who just don’t mesh with everyone else. The screenplay hammers away at the generic point that we live in a different world and that certain cultures don’t have limitations and disguise it as humans vs. monsters. I get it. At the same time, it also sends the message that if you are an untalented goofy slacker then you will marry a beautiful woman and become a daddy while doing next to nothing in your life. Uh, really?
Now when I review a film, I don’t criticize someone as a person, but how they perform in their profession, so I’m going to get this off my chest. Andy Samberg is a talented comedian who always crushed it on Saturday Night Live, but he is not meant to be a film actor. I have had it up to here with his “look how funny I can be with improvisation” nonsense. I saw Hot Rod and That’s My Boy and that’s enough to show he doesn’t mesh with the Sandler clan.
*shudders* The horror… the horror.
Hotel Transylvania 2 isn’t up to the level of Pixar, but it is a pleasant diversion full of fast-paced laughs, family values, and the best thing that Adam Sandler has done in years. Make a weekend reservation with this monstrous clan.