The Monster Pack for a new generation is back for more adventures in “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation”. Including Dracula (Adam Sandler), his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg), and father Vlad (Mel Brooks), wolfpeople Wayne (Steve Buscemi) and Eunice (Fran Drescher), invisible man Griffin (David Spade), Frank (Kevin James) are joined by voice talents like Kathryn Hahn, Molly Shannon, Jim Gaffigan, and even Joe Jonas, Mavis gets the gang to leave the hotel and take a cruise so they can bond. After Dracula “zings” when he sees Ericka (Hahn), the captain of the cruise, he attempts to woo her while she hides a secret that may endanger all of the monsters on the boat.
As enjoyable as the first two films in this series have been, this was a bit of a letdown for me. I don’t mean to say that this is a bad film; it just doesn’t measure up to its predecessors. The storyline here is fairly thin with no real heart to it. The tugging at emotions as it pertains to Mavis’ relationship to her father (and vice versa) takes a back seat as this script focuses more on Dracula getting older and feeling the need to fill the void left by the death of his wife. Director and co-writer Genndy Tartakovsky continues his good visual style, but it is not enough to make up for a story that just seems to fall flat. I cannot say that I did not giggle at it’s silliness from time to time, but most of the comedy for me came from Sandberg’s Johnny’s hippy and goofy ways that leads to a moment that made me groan not by the writing but by the reference made itself. (His character is shown to be a DJ, and as a former one myself, it will be made apparent towards the end. Trust me here.)
The question for “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” ultimately comes down to that of being the target audience for this particular film. I would not say that kids will enjoy it but not to the extent where they may have enjoyed the first two. Even they will see some of the plot devices coming a mile away but that may not matter to them. This is by no means the worst film I have seen this year, but it won’t be anywhere near the Top Ten. This seems like more of a road-trip-and-you-don’t-want-to-sit-through-the-same-movie-again type of thing more than anything else, so that is where it’s best viewing may be.