Hotel No. 2 toothless in the humor department

By Movie Man | Published Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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Sometimes the Movie Man can still be surprised.

He’ll see a movie that he loves and no one else does.

And he’ll hate something others revere.

It’s happened again.


The Movie Man, in his great wisdom, refuses to be swayed by others’ reviews. He likes some pictures others hate and vice versa.

Perhaps the greatest example of the Movie Man loving a film that many revile is “The Grinch” (2000, Movie Man No. 277, a 9, Best of Year).

Or maybe “Contact (1997, MM No. 189, 9, Best of Year). He also loved Shaft (2000, MM No. 345, 8).

But the converse is true, of course.

The Movie Man thought “Boogie Nights” (1997, MM No. 205, 4) was a bunch of independent film hooey despite that gorgeous, amazing opening tracking shot. However, high-falutin’ critics praise it endlessly even today.

And some readers refused to see how right the Movie Man was for panning such duds as “Sweet Home Alabama” (2002, MM No. 476, 3, Worst of Year) and the first effort at “Left Behind: The Movie” (2001, MM No. 389, 3).

That brings us to “Hotel Transylvania 2.” It’s not very funny at all. However, the movie just broke the September box office record for an opening weekend at $47.5 million, breaking the mark set by the first one, “Hotel Transylvania” (2012, MM No. 1002, 6).

Plus, the film holds a high A- CinemaScore rating from folks polled who just saw the movie. So, the Movie Man had another one of those surprise instances: How can anyone possibly rate this movie an A-? Even a kid?


Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) has thrown open his formerly monsters-only establishment to humans now.

Daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and husband Jonathan (Andy Samberg) now have a child, and the boy is the apple of Sandler’s eye. Nearing 5 now, Dennis (Asher Blinkoff) is not showing vampire traits, and Sandler is getting worried.

So, while Gomez and Sandberg head off to California to visit his parents, Sandler and his monster pals – Frankenstein (Kevin James), Murray (Keegan-Michael Key), Wayne (Steve Buscemi) and Griffin (David Spade) – try to help the boy reach monsterhood.

They put the boy through a series of episodes, even a monster camp, but nothing brings out the vampire in the half-human, half-creature Blinkoff.

With everyone at the hotel, the scary dad of Sandler, Vlad (Mel Brooks) – he sucks human souls – arrives with his head protector, a scarier monster named Bela (Rob Riggle), who also hates humans.

Things look bad, but when the boy sees a friend threatened by Riggle, Blinkoff’s fangs pop out and the boy proves he is, indeed, a vampire.


While the movie is remarkably laugh-free, there are a couple of chuckle-worthy moments.

Someone mentions blue tooth, but it’s not a phone reference. A monster named Blue Tooth (a literal giant blue tooth) walks past.

There’s a fun song sung by Fifth Harmony “I’m in Love with a Monster,” which is kinda cute.

The voice work is all solid, with Sandler and Gomez standing out.

The animation is great. “Hotel Transylvania 2” looks terrific.


For the Movie Man, the biggest giggle came when Samberg, at a costume party, dresses as a vampire – the weird version of Dracula from the Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 version played by Gary Oldman. The Movie Man was the only one in the sold out theater (admittedly of mostly 8-year-olds) who got that joke.


The audience with the Movie Man – including hundreds of kids – hardly laughed at all.

“Hotel Transylvania 2” is not out-loud funny. It’s more of a smile/guffaw picture, which is amazing when you consider the long list of talent behind the movie: Sandler and the slew of actors, writer Robert Smigel (who hails from “Saturday Night Live,” especially noted for the sometimes controversial TV Funhouse segments), and Mark Mothersbaugh (once part of Devo) with the music.

One example of something that should’ve been funny but wasn’t is the great Jon Lovitz as a Phantom of the Opera who makes pithy comments on the action. But the lines are not only unfunny; they’re mumble-sung and hard to understand.


There are a couple of potty humor scenes. Coupled with the scary Bela, the PG is right for the movie.


“Hotel Transylvania 2” is cute. However, cute doesn’t cut it anymore in animation where adults expect to find some humor tidbits for themselves as the kids laugh out loud at the slapstick and wee-wee jokes.


“The Martian”

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