The sight of Adam Sandler in animated form in Hotel Transylvania makes him—and the puerile bullshit he usually does in his live-action films—slightly bearable.
Here, his Count Dracula runs a hotel/ resort that serves as a relaxing getaway for the vilified monsters of the world, and that includes his pals Frankenstein (a Seth Rogen-like Kevin James), the Wolfman (Steve Buscemi), the Mummy (CeeLo Green) and the Invisible Man (David Spade). They all show up for the 118th birthday of Dracula's daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), who wants to break out of the monster house, see the world and mingle with the human folk. Overprotective Daddy Dracula works overtime to prevent that from happening—that is, until a numbskulled, mortal backpacker (Andy Samberg) wanders into these creatures' lives and puts a monkey wrench in Drac's whole program.
The movie is hardly top-notch stuff. Coming from Sony Pictures Animation, it follows the same frenetic, faster-and-wackier-is-better aesthetic that plagues a lot of their releases. (Director Genndy Tartakovsky said he was going for a Tex Avery vibe with the animation—and it certainly shows.) Sandler and his crew seem to roll with it, all goofing on each other the same way they would if they were in one of Sandler's live-action films.
The script was co-written by famed SNL writer and longtime Sandler crony Robert Smigel, although I like to think the slower, more clever moments came from the other co-writer, Peter Baynham, who co-wrote the underappreciated Arthur Christmas last year. Of course, since it's a movie that paints monsters as a misunderstood bunch, it also preaches to kids the importance of giving people different from you a chance—even if they are hundreds of years old and consume things like blood and mice.
It ain't much, but Hotel Transylvania is still easier to sit through than Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Sing it on."