You’re going to hear some bad things about Hotel Transylvania 2. That’s because it’s animated, but not Pixar. Plus, it’s a sequel. And it includes Adam Sandler doing a wacky voice, while he’s also invited all of his regularly maligned comedic friends along for the ride too.
On the face of it, that should all add up to mean that Hotel Transylvania 2 is both painfully unfunny and a lackluster cinematic experience. But, I’m here to insist that it’s not. In fact, Hotel Transylvania 2 actually excels for the very reasons why you’d assumed it would fail. The animation is gloriously cartoonish, allowing its spooky and peculiar world to come to life in an outlandish and engrossing fashion. And even Adam Sandler’s childlike impression of Count Dracula fits, while his comedic comrades each chime in with quips and gags, most of which land, too.
At the same time, Hotel Transylvania 2 perfectly caters to both kids and adults alike. And if you’re an especially childish version of the latter, then you’ll particularly enjoy laughing at things you know you probably shouldn’t, even though you always feel the urge to.
Set 7 years after the original, Hotel Transylvania 2 starts off at the wedding of Count Dracula’s (Adam Sandler) daughter Mavis’ (Selena Gomez) to Johnny (Andy Samberg), who just so happens to be a human. Soon after the ceremony it’s revealed that Mavis is pregnant, and she ultimately gives birth to a son, Dennis (Asher Blinkoff).
But as Dennis nears his fifth birthday, Dracula starts to wonder if his grandchild is actually a vampire at all. That’s because if he hasn’t grown fangs by the time he turns five, then he never will. Meanwhile, Mavis is having second thoughts about raising her son in Transylvania, so decides to visit California alongside Johnny to check out if that’s the ideal living location for a child.
Mavis and Johnny leave Dennis with Dracula, and as soon as they’ve left, he looks to train Dennis into becoming a monster, alongside his pals Frank (Kevin James), Wayne The Werewolf (Steve Buscemi), Griffin The Invisible Man (David Spade), Murray The Mummy (Keegan-Michael Key), and Blobby the Blob (Johnny Salmon).
While Hotel Transylvania 2 is admittedly weirdly-plotted and careens through years in mere minutes, this actually suits the zippy pace of the film. Additionally, its cast of characters is so damn loveable, you just enjoy spending time with them and going on their journey. Plus, with Chris Parnell, Jon Lovitz, Rob Riggle, Dana Carvey, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, and Mel Brooks each joining the already impressive vocal ensemble at different stages, the film is never low on laughs.
In fact, there are plenty of them dotted throughout the film thanks to the script that was written by Sandler and Robert Smigel. The jokes arrive at a frequency and in a style that is reminiscent of Disney’s underrated classic Emperor’s New Groove. Plus it has a unique look thanks to it constantly being set at night so that it’s lead characters can, you know … live!
Sure, the story’s not great. It is, at times, remarkably corny, and if you pay to watch it in 3D, then you’re basically throwing your money away. But for the most part, Hotel Transylvania 2 is a whole lot of wholesome fun and thoroughly entertaining. And when was the last time that you could say that about an Adam Sandler film?