In the animated feature “Leo,” Adam Sandler reprises his well-known voice to portray a 74-year-old class lizard. The signature gurgly, raw monster baritone, recognized from “Saturday Night Live,” attempts to inject humor into the film as the lizard imparts life advice to quirky fifth-graders. However, Sandler’s modern artistic laziness takes center stage in this Netflix project, resulting in stiff animation and awkward gags. Even musical numbers featuring Sandler’s voice lack the desired impact.
“Leo” establishes self-awareness with a slight adult edge, referencing E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web” early on. The story revolves around therapy, with the elderly lizard, Leo, disclosing his ability to talk and offering personalized advice to each child. The script, penned by Sandler, Robert Smigel, and Paul Sado, feels formulaic, treating Leo’s speaking ability as a poorly kept secret.
The movie introduces a turtle named Squirtle, voiced by Bill Burr, who becomes a source of antagonism and offhand urination jokes. “Leo” surprisingly incorporates musical elements, but the cut corners are apparent, hindering its attempt to compete with other animated soundtracks.
While “Leo” occasionally injects energy with slapstick and a vibrant color palette, its assembly line animation and lack of attention to detail diminish the overall experience. The film includes awkward product placement and visual gags, reminiscent of the Minions’ innocuousness. Despite contributions from TV Funhouse, the humor in “Leo” falls short, making it a lackluster attempt at charismatic sentimentality. Visit afdah for more!