Hotel Transylvania | Movie review
Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg sell out. Really.
Knee-jerk bad reviews for That’s My Boy pegged Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg as eternal adolescents. But Hotel Transylvania is regressive in a different sense: The stars have tamped down their anarchic impulses and made a bland, animated children’s feature. The film has one basic joke, which is that monsters are actually friendly. Instead of reading scary stories about vampires to his child, Count Dracula pages through tales of humans with pitchforks. He’d never drink anyone’s blood; he prefers “near-blood” or “blood beaters.” The eponymous resort, built as a safe haven and vacation spot for the extended families of Frankenstein, the Mummy et al., is his crowning achievement.
But into this nonhostile hostel wanders oblivious backpacker Jonathan (Samberg). Drac intends to dispense with him quickly; alas, the kid catches the eye of the count’s daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), who’s made it to age 118 without leaving the hotel grounds. Will Sandler’s hemo-vore stand in the way of true love? Do you care? Hotel Transylvania is fatally mild, especially in comparison to ParaNorman, another pre-Halloween offering that at least has the courage to be strange. If his voice weren’t so recognizable, you’d never guess vulgarian Sandler is the man behind the vampire, or that Robert Smigel collaborated on the screenplay. Even Gomez’s latest project, the Harmony Korine provocation Spring Breakers, has more edge. All the pop-culture stand-bys are accounted for, however; if you’re eager to see a giant Jell-O monster pulsing to a pop song, you’ve reached your destination.