“Hotel Transylvania 2” confirms what its predecessor gave us reason to believe: that Adam Sandler can still be funny and likable; he just has to be a cartoon.
Sandler, who co-wrote the screenplay with old pal Robert Smigel, returns as the voice of hotel-for-monsters owner Dracula, whose daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), has just married a human named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) and produced a son, Dennis. Grandpa Drac loves the tyke either way, of course, but hopes Dennis has inherited the vampire DNA, not the human stuff, and sets out to show him how great being a monster is. (“Just wait, this kid’ll be guzzling goat’s blood in no time!”) His efforts are amusingly undercut by the fact that monsters are cute and fangless nowadays — a cuddly TV puppet called Cake Monster is especially galling — and instead of being frightened by Frankenstein (Kevin James), the Mummy (Keegan-Michael Key), and their friends, passersby ask for selfies and tell Dracula, “Love your chocolate cereal!” It’s harmless, pleasant fun — why, Mel Brooks even turns up as Dracula’s elderly father! — and a far cry from the aggressive, grating live-action turds Sandler has been plopping out. Whaddaya know, childish jokes play a lot better when they’re actually aimed at children.
B- (1 hr., 29 min.; )