REVIEW — “Hotel Transylvania 2”
After accepting humans into his hotel and blessing the marriage of his vampire daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez) to human backpacker, Jonathan (Andy Samberg), Drac (Adam Sandler) welcomes the arrival of his first grandchild, Dennis. While Mavis and Jonathan visit their potential new home in America, Drac avoids his own human-hating dad, Vlad (Mel Brooks) and sets off with his spooky pals to prove Dennis is indeed a vamp. Will little Dennis sprout fangs like his mom, or is he human like dad and therefore safer growing up near his human grandparents (Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally) in California – far away from the dangers of Hotel Transylvania?
Featuring a stacked voice cast consisting of several regular players in the Happy Madison Repertory Company, “Hotel Transylvania 2” welcomes back most of the gang from the original. Kevin James returns as Frank(enstein’s Monster) alongside Steve Buscemi as Wayne the Wolfman, David Spade as Griffin the Invisible Man, and newcomer Keegan-Michael Key (replacing CeeLo Green) as the Murray the Mummy.
With animation, Sandler has found the perfect vehicle for his talents. His characters can go anywhere and conjure anything. His jokes are not bound by the limitations of reality. Whereas Sandler’s live-action films must regularly rely on recycled pratfalls and fart jokes, the medium of animation allows for rapid-fire gags and over-the-top visuals to enhance the story and bring Drac’s world to life ‑ which Sony Pictures Animation and director Genndy Tartakovsky (“Samurai Jack”, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) accomplish with vivid beauty.
Nowadays, to truly enjoy an Adam Sandler film, you must first acknowledge that you’re watching an Adam Sandler film and lower your expectations accordingly. It also helps to come to terms with the fact that the Adam Sandler you probably grew up idolizing is gone. The raunchy R-rated classics such as, “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore” are behind him. Instead he’s content releasing footage of studio-paid vacations with his closest friends disguised as mindless comedies. As much as his comedic reputation has soured because of this, he really deserves credit for figuring out how to work the Hollywood system in his favor. Sandler is a now family man, and that shift in personality is reflected in the material he chooses to write and produce. However, the Hotel Transylvania series is a remarkable exception. It’s a bright spot on Sandler’s otherwise tarnished resume.
The theme of accepting the differences of others is carried over from the first film and is complimented with the real-life humor of first-time parenting, meeting the in-laws, blending families, overprotective mothers and grandparents without boundaries. An hauntingly good family comedy, “Hotel Transylvania 2” is one of those rare animated films that entertains the kids while also providing their parents with plenty of relate-able and honest laughs. Finally, a Sandler comedy that has its fangs and does not suck. 4/5
“Hotel Transylvania 2” is now in theaters nationwide.