After 2023’s previous comedy family surprise gem, You’re not invited to my Bat Mitzvah, Adam Sandler and his Happy Madison productions do it again for Netflix, this time in the charming and extraordinarily wise CGI animated film, Lion. It’s a delight for children It is their parents, who also receive some lessons here along the way.
Sandler voices the 74-year-old Iguana, Leo, as if he’s about to take the pulpit at a Friar’s Roast. Leo has lived his entire life on display in a fifth-grade classroom with rotating groups of children since the 1940s. Next to him is best friend Squirtle, a fast-talking turtle memorably voiced by Bill Burr. They are a kind of Bert and Ernie of the classroom, talking only to each other and never revealing to the children or teachers that he can in fact, talk to humans too. Leo, for some reason, has it in his head that all lizards of any stripe automatically die at age 75, and so he wants to fulfill everything on his bucket list and get out into the real world before he dies (sorry).
To do this, an unexpected opportunity arises when the extremely bad-tempered and terrifying replacement, Miss. Malkin (Cecily Strong) offers a task to children willing to have the chance to take home one of the class’ “pets”. Leo manages to get his foot in the door, starting with a very talkative young woman, Summer (Sunny Sandler), who is at first shocked to see that Leo can talk (he promises she’s the only one who will know), but soon gets a valuable life lesson. . one of many to follow as other children volunteer to take Leo home too, once word of mouth spreads. They include Eli, Mia, Anthony, Cole, and Jayda, all kids with specific problems that Leo, now a sort of class therapist, can easily solve with everything he’s observed in fifth graders his entire life.
SNL veterans Robert Smigel, Robert Mariantetti and David Wachtenheim, who worked on the classic SNL TV Funhouse shorts, team up with Sandler to turn it all into a funhouse of their own, with fun Smigel tunes sprinkled throughout, leading to the best one of them is “ Quando I Was Ten ” which gets a performance from the kids at the end (an Oscar nomination for Best Song wouldn’t be a stretch if you ask me). Also from SNL In the wheelhouse are actors like Rob Schneider, Heidi Gardner and Strong, all scoring points, along with Smigel’s sons and Sandler’s daughters Sunny and Sadie, and even his mother Jackie, making this a true family outing, like this Bat Mitzvah it was.
Sandler is no stranger to the ‘toons who have delivered winners in the past with Eight crazy nights and the blow Hotel Transylvania franchise. He wrote this script with Smigel and Paul Sado, and it works on several levels, like one of my other favorite animated films from this year, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem it did thanks to the talents of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who provided the right comedic touch. Children aren’t the only ones who will find lots of things to like Lion.
The producers are Sandler and Mireille Soria.
Release date of: Cooking Now on Netflix
Director: Robert Smigel, Robert Marianetti, David Wachtenheim
Road map: Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, Paul Sado
Cast: Adam Sandler, Bill Burr, Cecily Strong, Rob Schneider, Stephanie Tsu, Jo Koy, Heidi Gardner, Summer Sandler, Sadie Sandler, Rory Smigel, Reese Lores, Ethan Smigel.
Runtime: 1 hour and 42 minutes