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Review: Hotel Transylvania 2

Hotel Transylvania 2
09.25.2015
5 10

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PLOT: Hotel Transylvania owner Dracula becomes obsessed with finding out if his new grandson takes after his vampire daughter or human son-in-law. 

REVIEW: If you've got a kid who's jonesing for the Halloween season, you could do worse than HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2, an uninspired but inoffensive sequel to the 2012 hit. If you yourself are a big kid jonesing for the Halloween season - as yours truly is - then you're likely to find yourself smiling here and there at the movie's many silly monsters, while consistently yearning for a script that has more interesting things for them to say and do. This being an Adam Sandler comedy (he stars, co-wrote and produced), it's hardly surprising that the film takes the easy way out when it comes to its comedic bits, with sophomoric puns and uninspired visual gags ruling the day. Thank goodness it's so colorful.

 

The film's beginning gradually fast-forwards many years after the events of the first one. Dracula (Sandler) comfortably runs his resort for creatures of the night with the assistance of his goofy human son-in-law Jonathan (Andy Samberg). When Drac finds out his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) is pregnant, he's over the moon with the thought of his bloodsucking lineage continuing, even while his daughter warns the baby may not end up being a vampire after all. Cut to four years after the baby, named Dennis (or Dennisivich as Drac calls him), has been born, and he's still not exhibiting any monstrous behavior. Concerned, Drac enlists his pals Frank (Kevin James), Wayne (Steve Buscemi), Griffin (David Spade) and Murray (Keegan Michael-Key) to help him scare the fangs out of the kid, while Jonathan takes Mavis to California to hang out with his folks (Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman).

Try as he might, Drac can't seem to get to kid to fly, hunt forest creatures or any of the other things bloodsuckers are wont to do. Indeed, even his pals have moved past those hijinks; getting Wayne the wolfman to attack a helpless deer even proves to be impossible. Soon enough, Drac must begin to accept that his grandson is a human after all, but that's not going to play well when his own father (Mel Brooks) comes to the hotel to take a look at the new addition. There are some scary villains shoehorned into the third act, but they basically come from nowhere and lead nowhere.

 

By this time, you've accepted that HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 is more concerned with inserting as many lame jokes and double entendres into 90 minutes as possible than bringing you anything resembling a substantial story. Stale bits are repeated ad infinitum, like when Dracula can't figure out how to use his smart phone. (Is it because he's old or because he has really long fingernails? Both, I guess.) For a movie that was obviously lovingly crafted by its animators and well-directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (he gives these characters real bounce and expressivity), it's a shame the script seems to have been scribbled out in about a day, with the outline taking half that time. Sandler and co-writer Robert Smigel could write these sorry excuses for zingers in their sleep, and they just may have for all the hilarity they bring. In a sad effort to be hip, the movie naturally attempts to win over its tween audience by abruptly inserting several current pop songs into the proceedings, no doubt at the risk of dating the movie only a few years from now. A note: Just having animated characters sing and dance to a tune isn't funny in and of itself; a little context would be nice.

Aside from the very enjoyable animation, it's the film's overall air of amiable harmlessness that makes it, at the very least, watchable. Ultimately, you take away a general "accept everyone for who they are" message throughout, which is noble if not entirely successful. (I doubt the film's target audience is going to learn much about tolerance from this otherwise hyperactive concoction.) And let's face it, nowadays when Sandler's in a movie, you're worried the impulse to commit suicide will overtake you before the film's conclusion, so anything short of that is commendable. I don't know if there's going to be a HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 (probably), but I'd love it if Sandler and company decided to gift these potentially rich characters with engaging material instead of simply putting them through the corny motions. A second note: Watch a Pixar movie sometime, fellas.

Source: JoBlo.com

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