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  • Writer's pictureBen Pivoz

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

Dracula (Voiced by Adam Sandler) struts his stuff for Griffin (David Spade), Murray (Keegan-Michael Key), Eunice (Fran Drescher) and Frank (Kevin James) in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (Distributed by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Releasing)

Parents are always on the lookout for films they can take their kids to. There are not a lot of true all-ages movies. Pickings can be slim and, as a result, some subpar family films still do pretty well at the box-office. That is the only explanation for the success of the Hotel Transylvania franchise, which is now on its third entry. It is an animated series starring the voices of Adam Sandler and his usual group of co-stars. Sandler is Count Dracula and the titular location is the hotel for monsters that he runs. The first two had extremely thin plots stretched around weak jokes about monster shenanigans. This outing has slightly more plot and is probably the best of the bunch, but it still is not particularly funny.

This time around, Drac and the gang go on a boat cruise for monsters, hence the title Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. Drac’s daughter, Mavis, is convinced her dad needs a break so she organizes a trip for all of his family and friends. Little do they know that someone on the ship wants Dracula dead.

It is the usual grab-bag of obvious jokes and silly accents, though there is at least sort of a narrative to hang on to. The concept of the franchise could be fun, however Sandler and company still have not gotten past the jokes about how monsters are different from humans. Some of them are continuations of unfunny running gags from the previous movies. Even most of the new jokes get very old long before Summer Vacation’s 93 minute running time (minus the end credits) is up.

The voice cast has a lot of funny people in it, but it does not allow them to cut loose or really establish their characters. Besides Sandler, the cast includes Selena Gomez as his daughter, Andy Samberg as her human husband (he was the second lead in the first entry, but just pops up for the occasional throwaway one-liner here), Kevin James and Fran Drescher as Frankenstein’s Monster and his Bride, David Spade as the Invisible Man, Keegan-Michael Key as a Mummy, Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon as wolf-man and woman and Mel Brooks as Dracula’s father. This sequel also introduces Kathryn Hahn as the ship’s captain and Jim Gaffigan as her great-grandfather. Unfortunately, nobody gets much to work with.

The animation is at the level of an average children’s television cartoon. It is simple and not too lively or interesting to look at. That being said, I chuckled more at the sight gags than at the dialogue. There are a couple of cute bits featuring Drac’s friend Blobby as well as a Looney Tunes inspired subplot involving his grandson’s giant dog, Tinkle. He was kind of amusing. But Summer Vacation is mostly a dull affair. I would say this series has run out of steam, but I am not sure it had any to begin with. It is inoffensive and will probably be okay for keeping little kids distracted. However, parents should prepare to check their watches most of the way.

2 out of 5


Adam Sandler as Dracula

Selena Gomez as Mavis

Andy Samberg as Johnny

Kevin James as Frank

David Spade as Griffin

Keegan-Michael Key as Murray

Steve Buscemi as Wayne

Fran Drescher as Eunice

Molly Shannon as Wanda

Mel Brooks as Vlad

Asher Blinkoff as Dennis

Kathryn Hahn as Ericka

Jim Gaffigan as Van Helsing

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky

Written by Michael McCullers and Genndy Tartakovsky


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