In the animated film “Leo,” Adam Sandler resurrects his iconic voice for the role of a 74-year-old class lizard. This distinctive gurgly baritone, famous for its “Shibbbittty bobbity dooo!” catchphrase from “Saturday Night Live,” attempts to inject humor into a narrative where the lizard imparts life advice to quirky fifth-graders. Regrettably, Sandler’s contemporary artistic lethargy dominates, resulting in rigid animation and lackluster gags. Even the musical numbers, featuring Sandler’s recognizable voice, fail to leave a lasting impression.
“Leo” introduces self-awareness with an adult edge, early on referencing E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web.” The plot revolves around therapy, with the elderly lizard, Leo, revealing his ability to talk and offering tailored advice to each child. The script, authored by Sandler, Robert Smigel, and Paul Sado, feels formulaic, treating Leo’s talking ability as a poorly kept secret.
The film introduces Squirtle, a turtle voiced by Bill Burr, who adds antagonism and offhand urination jokes. “Leo” inexplicably incorporates musical elements, but the cut corners are evident, hindering its attempt to compete with other animated soundtracks.
While “Leo” occasionally sparks with energy through slapstick and a vibrant color palette, its assembly line animation and lack of attention to detail detract from the viewing 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, rendering it a lackluster attempt at charismatic sentimentality. Visit afdah for more!