Sunday, February 25, 2018

Movie Review: Hotel Transylvania

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: A couple of really good laughs
Cons: Could have been funnier
The Bottom Line:
Monster comedy
Is missing the monster laughs
Turns out average

Potential Wasted

I was never completely sold on Hotel Transylvania, which is why I never bothered to watch the movie until now, six years after it came out.  It looked like it could be fun, but the previews never quite captured my interest.  Having seen the movie, I can definitely say there was a reason for that.

No surprise, the movie focuses on Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler), who has built Hotel Transylvania as a retreat for monsters.  He was inspired to do this after his wife was killed by humans who hate monsters even though the monsters just want to get along with us.  He opens it once a year to his fellow monster friends for his daughter Mavis’ (Selena Gomez) birthday.

This year marks Mavis’ 118th birthday, and she is tired of living in the shadows.  She is ready to meet some people her own age and is fascinated by humans, something Dracula and the rest of the monsters certainly don’t understand.

Into the party wanders Jonathan (Andy Samberg), a human who has no idea what he’s found.  While Dracula tries to keep his identity a secret, he and Mavis meet.  What will happen next?

Unfortunately, what happens next is fairly predictable.  Now, I’m not opposed to predictable if I am having fun along the way.  In this case, the jokes just didn’t work for me.  There are a few the work, but not enough to entertain me for the hour and a half the movie runs, which is a shame because there is the potential for a lot of fun here.  I did want to see how they would resolve things, so I was engaged that much, but I was never fully pulled into the story.

Of course, part of the problem is that they resort to bathroom humor.  Given that this is an Adam Sandler movie, they don’t go as gross as they could, which I am grateful for.  Still, I wish they’d tried for some of the jokes involving monsters that could have actually been funny.

They have an impressive roster of monsters here, including the Mummy, Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, and the Wolf Man.  Likewise, the voice talent is top notch, featuring Kevin James, Fran Drescher, and David Spade, to name a few.  They were all perfect in the film.

The movie is aimed at kids, and there is nothing here that would scare them.  The only couple of scare moments don’t last more than a couple of seconds and quickly turn into a gag, so there’s nothing to worry about there.

And I think kids might enjoy this movie.  It’s certainly not bad.  But unfortunately, Hotel Transylvania isn’t entertaining enough to keep adults engaged or make them want to watch it again.

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