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Hotel Transylvania 2 3D

I liked it. In fact, I can’t quite understand the critical pounding it has taken. There’s plenty of reasons to beat on Adam Sandler, but this isn’t one of them. Am I biased because I attended this with my 7-year-old son (who had a blast, btw)? In fact, this sequel, along with its original animated feature, holds the distinction of being the biggest worldwide hits of Mr. Sander’s career. And I haven’t seen the first, but this one is kind of fun, safely malevolent, perfect for Halloween, and thankfully brief. And Mel Brooks voices Vlad, the father of Dracula. I mean, c’mon–there are some real treats here! Frivolous? Sure. But so was the billion dollar-grossing, “Minions”. I’ll take this instead.

Dracula’s vampire daughter, Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez), marries goofy human, Jonathan (Voiced by Andy Samberg), and the couple has a son, Dennis. Dracula (Mr. Sandler, of course) has learned to accept the marriage of his girl to a non-monster, and is extremely pleased with being a grandfather. One problem though–Vlad can’t determine yet if 5-year-old Dennis is a vampire, or not, yet. So, he suggests daughter and hubby take a vacation, with the intention of finding out if his grandchild is a regular person, or simply a “late-fanger”. The test includes bat transformation training, and a camp that specializes in vampire-honing skills. And a werewolf, the Invisible Man, a mummy, the Frankenstein monster, and a green blob, all tag along for the macabre hijinks.

Director Genndy Tartakovsky keeps the pace snappy, and the Sandler/Robert Smigel screenplay is loaded with family friendly monster references and funny one-liners. So yeah, the bad reviews seem unfair. Plus, there’s a witches’ cauldron full of vocal talent here, from performers like Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, Megan Mullally, Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz. That’s quite a team. And there are constant references and sight gags invoking so many of the classic monsters from the legendary Universal roster. You’ll laugh, you’ll smile, and you’ll gently chuckle. “Hotel Transylvania 2” is a fine family outing for the Halloween weekend.

Grade: B-

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