Can we all pass around a petition or something that will tell Adam Sandler he should only make animated films? But then again there was 8 Crazy Nights a while back so he is by no means a homerun in animated films either. Still, his best films by far of the last decade have been the Hotel Transylvania movies. That’s definitely damning by faint praise but it is nonetheless true.
It’s weird trying to write a review of Hotel Transylvania 2 because I had a good time watching it but I can’t think of a whole lot to say in its defense. Does that ever happen to you? You like something almost in spite of itself?
Well, Hotel Transylvania 2 picks up where the fun but forgettable first installment left off with Dracula’s (Sandler) daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) getting married to Johnny (Andy Samburg) and then having a little boy named Dennis or Denisovich as the Count likes to call him.
The Count is a doting grandfather and loves Dennis but is constantly preoccupied on whether he is a vampire or not. He is a ‘late fanger’ as they like to say and has till he is 5 to get his vampire fangs. If he doesn’t then he, Mavis and Johnny will have to move back to California where Dennis can be safe.
Leaving Dennis with Count Mavis and Johnny go to California to check it out and meet his parents (Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally who should be cast in more voice work. She’s great!). Mavis is thrilled with all the nighttime 24 hour options in California.
Back at the hotel Count has his friends from the first film Frankenstein (Kevin James), Invisible Man (David Spade), Blobby, and Mummy (Keegan-Michael Key who evidently is in every comedy of 2015). They decide to try and scare the fangs out of Dennis and take him on a vacation of their greatest haunts much to Mavis’ anger.
They also end up involving Count’s old school father Vlad (Mel Brooks who is underused in the film)
That’s basically the plot. It’s a silly comedy but it did make me laugh. I particularly liked a repeated joke with the Phantom of the Opera singing. The tangents with in California and on the scare quest take away from the humor and the ending drags on and is too maudlin. But overall it is a pleasant amiable film that is aimed at kids with little to none of the adults only humor I didn’t care for in Minions. I also laughed a lot more than in Minions from start to finish.
The animation is also nicely done led by the great GEnndy Tartakovsky. The colors are bright and the characters are surprising and fun.
The voice talent all works but the cast is so large that some of my favorites are woefully underused such as Mel Brooks and Fran Drescher (who I know some hate but I’ve loved her ever since The Nanny). She has maybe 3 lines in the entire movie. Dana Carvey, Jon Lovitz, Chris Parnell, Nick Offerman are hilarious actors and they are given very little to do.
And yet the running time is 89 minutes! I told a friend of mine ‘if Bambi can tell its story in 70 minutes Hotel Transylvania 2 doesn’t need 89). They could definitely cut out the animated dance number at the end- a trend in animation carried over from the 2000s that I really hate
Hotel Transylvania 2 is a movie made for kids without a ton of grown-up appeal but I did laugh a fair amount. More than I did in Minions and definitely more than Dreamworks’ Home. It has better animation, writing and story than either of those films.
So take that review for what it is worth. I would wait and get it from the redbox or rent it. Have some laughs and enjoy a moderately entertaining animated film. Nothing more, nothing less.
Overall Grade- C
Here’s my video review