Adam Sandler stars in “Leo” as a grumpy lizard who has spent his whole life within the terrarium of a fifth-grade classroom. He’s been joined by a turtle named Squirtle (Bill Burr), and the 2 are largely content material to stare out the glass, yr after yr, commenting like Statler and Waldorf on the varied tween archetypes that present up on the primary day of faculty: the motormouth, the category clown, the child with helicopter mother and father who’s allergic to all the things. But the bubble bursts for Sandler’s Leo when he realizes that he’s approaching 75 — the typical life span for his species — and has hardly gotten to stay out his desires as a free lizard.
Leo sees a chance with the arrival of a no-nonsense substitute trainer, Ms. Malkin (Cecily Strong), after the standard teacher goes on maternity go away. Along with implementing a stricter disciplinary system, she assigns her college students on the Florida college to take turns bringing Leo house, caring for him as their very own pet. The children are dismayed, till one in every of them, the chatty Summer (voiced by Sandler’s daughter Sunny), discovers that the seemingly docile lizard can discuss, and begins to divulge heart’s contents to him about her issues. Leo, discovering success in his new job, takes on the position of therapist every week, meting out recommendation and convincing every pupil that they’re the one one who can hear him converse.
“Leo” is the second animated movie from Sandler’s inventive home Happy Madison Productions and his latest launch for Netflix. Unlike the corporate’s first foray into animation, the raunchy 2002 Hanukkah flick “Eight Crazy Nights,” “Leo” goals for healthful household leisure, combining themes just like the challenges of rising older with a wholesome dose of G-rated rest room humor (and some double entendres that can go over children’ heads).
Sandler does a wonderful job because the voice of Leo, delivering an excellent mixture of gruffness and sweetness into an absurd state of affairs. The children in “Leo” open up to him their want to be understood by their mother and father and friends, and the movie drives house the overdone however nonetheless true message that everybody faces this battle — even standard ladies like Jayda (performed by Sandler’s different daughter, Sadie). These tender moments are punctuated by a number of unique songs — sure, “Leo” is a full-blown musical — and a plethora of working gags, like portraying the varsity’s kindergartners as wide-eyed bobbleheads crashing into partitions.
Written by Sandler, Paul Sado, and Robert Smigel (who additionally directed the movie with Robert Marianetti and David Wachtenheim), “Leo” generally has bother figuring out its viewers. The musical sequences aren’t significantly attention-grabbing visually and can drag on for adults, but it’s arduous to think about youngsters sitting by means of Leo and Squirtle’s prolonged riffs on divorced mother and father or the courtship behaviors of reptiles and never getting somewhat bored. But with the vacations rolling round and households gathering, this may undoubtedly work as one thing to placed on within the background for everybody.
Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 42 minutes. Watch on Netflix.