Hotel Transylvania 2 ** 1/2
Dir: Genndy Tartakovsky
Starring: (voices of) Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Megan Mullally, Mel Brooks
The first Hotel Transylvania was a moderately entertaining animated feature which had Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) raising his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez) by his lonesome in a hotel where the monsters of the world could seek rest and respite from the human world. Some of the permanent guests and visitors at the Hotel Transylvania included the Frankenstein Monster (Kevin James) and his Bride (Fran Drescher), the Wolfman (Steve Buscemi), the Invisible Man (David Spade), the Mummy (Keegan-Michael Key in the sequel and Cee Lo Green in the original) and Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame (Jon Lovitz). However, trouble arrived in this monster’s paradise in the shape of 21-year old human, Jonathan (Andy Samberg) and he and Mavis find opposites attracting, much to Papa vampire’s dismay.
The sequel finds Jonathan and Mavis married and with a kid – 5-year old Dennis (Asher Blinkoff). Nobody’s sure whether Dennis is human or just a late “fang-er” and Mavis thinks the family might be better off raising Dennis in an all-human environment. The Count desperately wants his daughter and grandchild to stay on in Transylvania and sets about trying – with the help of his monstrous friends – to induce Dennis’ fangs to sprout before it’s too late. Matters are further complicated with the arrival of the Count’s father, Vlad (Mel Brooks).
Like the first movie, the sequel is moderately entertaining, providing a few chuckles and a few grins. I’d put it a minor notch below the original because the novelty is gone (as it is in most sequels) and nothing really new is brought to the table.
Cut to chase: Provides a few harmless chuckles.
Kangana Ranaut knocked them out of the park with Queen and Tanu Weds Manu Returns. However, unfortunately, while she may be the best thing in Katti Batti even she can’t keep afloat a script which is all over the place in both tone and intent. The Nikhil Advani penned and directed film can’t make up its mind whether it wants to be a new age rom-com, an avant garde treatise on modern live-in relationships, a battle-of-the-sexes, or an old-fashioned romance with a melodramatic, manipulative twist at the end.
Advani gives the movie a slick veneer but the characters act and behave like no normal human being would (even given the fact that Kangana is playing a variation on the bohemian free spirit that she’s already essayed in a few films). They also come across as pretty unremarkable (except for the fact that Imran Khan’s lovelorn Maddy – or Madhav, if you prefer – is borderline unlikeable) and have practically no chemistry together (a rom-com often lives or dies by the chemistry between its leads). The comic interludes are forced and mostly fall flat and even the songs are unmemorable.
Nikhil Advani started his directorial career with Kal Ho Naa Ho and Salaam-e-Ishq, both of which I liked quite a fair bit. It’s been all downhill for him since then.
Cut to chase: Even Kangana can’t ignite this one.