Movie review: 'Hotel Transylvania'

Kids and grown-ups alike find tricks and treats to chuckle about in “Hotel Transylvania” — just not enough of them.
BY GENE TRIPLETT Modified: September 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm •  Published: September 28, 2012

“Hotel Transylvania” tries to be a Halloween party the whole family can howl at together, with its 1,250 rooms full of 3-D tricks and treats, and the kind of lovable abnormalities we remember from “Monsters Inc.” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Parents and kids won't find themselves screaming with laughter for the entire 91 minutes of this Sony Pictures Animation offering, but everyone gets a turn to chuckle — the kids at the predictable poop jokes and a flatulent Frankenstein, the grown-ups at such things as interrupted honeymooning flies and occasional lines of dialogue like: “But seriously, watch out for fire. Fire bad.”

Visually, award-winning TV animator Genndy Tartakovsky (“Star Wars: Clone Wars,” “Samurai Jack”) makes an impressive feature film directorial debut with a computer-animated comedy that has an old-fashioned cartoony look and exaggerated, stylized characters reminiscent of the days when cartoons went for the funny bone rather than realistic CGI dazzle.

It helps, too, to have a talented voice cast actually working face-to-face in a recording studio to bring the characters some real character. Adam Sandler breathes manic life into Dracula, the over-controlling and obsessive proprietor of Hotel Transylvania, who's also the overprotective father of pretty teenager Mavis (Selena Gomez), who's about to celebrate her 118th birthday and spread her wings and discover the outside world.

All of their monster friends have been invited to her party, including Dracula's best bud Frankenstein (Kevin James), a big-hearted working man married to brassy Eunice (Fran Drescher).

Steve Buscemi voices weary Wayne the werewolf, an overworked data processor with his sweet, lovable wife, Wanda (Molly Shannon); David Spade is Griffin the Invisible Man, who's a pair of floating eyeglasses with an acerbic wit and an oversensitivity about his red hair, which no one can even see; Cee Lo Green kills it as Murray the Mummy; and Jon Lovitz vocalizes for Quasimodo, the hotel's temperamental hunchback French chef, who wants to add humans to the menu, even though monsters haven't dined on normal people in more than a century.

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‘Hotel Transylvania'

PG1:312 ½

Starring: Voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, CeeLo Green. (Some rude humor, action and scary images)

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