by Eric D. Snider
Released: September 28, 2012
After years of fruitless searching, it would appear that modern science has finally found the right place for Adam Sandler's crew: children's cartoons. "Hotel Transylvania," a congenial toon about a monsters-only resort accidentally discovered by a human, has a lot of the same names in the credits as Sandler's recent live-action output, with roles for friends and family members and a writing credit for longtime "SNL" collaborator Robert Smigel. But while "Jack and Jill," "That's My Boy," "Just Go with It," "Grown Ups," etc., etc., have been lazily written and dully executed, some of them nearing atrocity level, "Hotel Transylvania" is a mild treat. It turns out childish jokes go down a lot smoother when they're actually directed at children, and when you can't see everybody's simpering faces mugging for the camera all the time.
Sandler is the voice of Count Dracula, who, in the spirit of animated films since the beginning, is a single parent. He and his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), live happily in a remote castle that's been turned into a hotel catering exclusively to a monster clientele. Dracula and his associates avoid interaction with people at all costs, teaching their children to fear the dangerous humans. But now, on the occasion of Mavis' 118th birthday and entry into adulthood, Drac's little girl desperately wants to see what life is like out there.
She gets her chance, sort of, when an American backpacker dude named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) stumbles into the hotel on its busiest weekend, when the place is just crawling with monsters. Jonathan, a go-with-the-flow kind of bro, finds the existence of monsters more awesome than terrifying, and he's willing to pretend to be one of them so that Dracula's business won't be ruined by the scandal of a human violating the sanctity of this place. Also, he has a crush on Mavis.
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Rated PG, a little rude humor
1 hr., 31 min.
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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