Here we go, a film starring Adam Sandler that does not suck donkey balls. Yes, it's a shock to all of us. However, it's just his voice that puts in an appearance, so maybe there is something to be said there. It's a sequel to the decent, and somewhat successful at the box office, Hotel Transylvania from 2012 – but sadly, like so many sequels, it's nowhere near as good as the first.
HT2 kicks things off with a wedding – you will recall that human Jonathan (Samberg) and vampire Mavis (Gomez) met and fell in love in the first film. Soon the new couple find themselves pregnant, thrilling daddy Dracula (Sandler) who is more than ready to welcome a new generation of vampire into the family. But it seems that young Dennis may just be human – his fangs are yet to come in – so Drac sends Mavis and Jonathan on holiday to visit his folks in California while he tries to bring out the monster in show Dennis – with the help of pals Frank (James), werewolf Wayne (Buscemi), Invisible Man Griffin (Spade), and mummy Murray (Key).
Sadly, for much of the running time Hotel Transylvania 2 merely plods along, retreading the first film's fish-out-of-water and humans-fear-monsters themes (which were done so much better in the old TV shows The Munsters and the Addams Family). The animation is lively and lovely to look at, but there are few laughs to be had. Everything picks up in the final 20 minutes, but by then it's too little, too late. The terrific voice cast (and its great to hear the brilliant Brooks as Dracula's dad, Vlad) is mostly wasted in a pretty pedestrian script which (oh, what a surprise) was co-written by Sandler. Younger kids will probably enjoy it, but in this day and age – when we have such excellent animated fare as Inside Out, Minions and the like – the rest of us expect so much better.