Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Don't Worry, "Taken 3," You Aren't the Worst Sequel of 2015: "Hotel Transylvania 2" (2015)

The gang from the smash-hit is back, in a film that screams for more hotel and less Adam Sandler screenwriting.

Dracula's (Adam Sandler) daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) is living with her human dude husband Jonathan (Andy Samberg) at the titular hotel, where Jonathan is given a social networking job to deal with the influx of humans into Transylvania. Mavis and Jonathan also have a toddler named Dennis (Asher Blinkoff), who is half human and half vampire, and no one is sure if the boy will be a monster or not. Dracula wants Dennis' fangs to come in as soon as possible, but the overly protective Mavis is letting nature take its course. Jonathan loves his job at the hotel, so Drac sends the couple off to California to show Mavis how awful Jonathan's home state is (so the couple won't move away), and to work on turning the adorable Dennis into a bloodthirsty supernatural being. Dracula and his friends take Dennis on a road trip, exposing Dennis to all of Dracula's old haunts (which have all changed since humans arrived), and each monster tries to demonstrate their evil with disastrous results. In the meantime, Mavis is enthralled by the human world, until she realizes what Dracula has been doing and literally flies back to Transylvania to confront her meddling father.

Wait. There's more wackiness. Mel Brooks is introduced, much too late, as Dracula's estranged father Vlad. He also is worried that Dennis' fangs haven't come in, and no one has told him that Mavis married a human. Much like Jonathan disguising himself as a monster in the first film, Jonathan's visiting suburban family must all disguise themselves as monsters to fool the old vampire.

"Hotel Transylvania" worked because of the manic energy that Sandler and Samberg brought. That film moved, not allowing anyone to catch their breath, and brought some nice emotional moments as well. Its sequel lays there like a corpse. All of that energy is gone, and the two main plot thrusts of the film make it feel like two DIFFERENT films, and therefore, much longer. Gone is the poking fun at human conventions through the eyes of the monsters. Here, bad puns take over, and for a film called "HOTEL Transylvania 2," we don't get a lot of time at the hotel. Some great ideas are touched upon, but Sandler and Robert Smigel's script doesn't pursue them. The first film ended with a fun musical number, this film ends with a whimper- and makes the viewer sit through half the credits hoping another clip will pop up where they were saving the real laughs...we left once the cast list started rolling, possible mid-end credits joke be damned. I write this review in the final hours of my birthday (what'd you get me?). On my birthday two years ago, me and the little woman sat through "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2"- another disappointing sequel to a fun original animated flick. I'm thinking this tradition will be ending after tonight.

To read that cast list, you would have thought the film would be a riot. It has a few laughs and too few great scenes, but those bright spots are overwhelmed by a cast and director turning in a half-assed effort. I checked out of "Hotel Transylvania 2" just after the opening title credit. (*) out of five stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment