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Leo movie review film summary 2023 Roger Ebert

Adam Sandler brings his iconic voice to the animated movie "Leo," but the Netflix project lacks in animation and humor.

Adam Sandler is back with his iconic voice in the animated film "Leo," where he brings life to a 74-year-old class lizard. This gurgly, raw monster baritone has been a staple of Sandler's performances for years, and it's the same voice that brought big laughs on "Saturday Night Live." In "Leo," Sandler's voice takes on a gentler but more congested tone, as he voices an old lizard who secretly imparts valuable life advice to quirky fifth-graders.

Despite the potential for fun in this premise, "Leo" falls short due to Sandler's lazy artistic side, evident in the stiff animation and awkward gags. Even the musical numbers featuring Sandler's voice fail to impress. The film has a self-awareness with a slight adult edge, making references to E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web" early on. The story revolves around therapy, as the 74-year-old lizard, Leo, goes home with different students each weekend and imparts wisdom tailored to their individual needs.

The original script by Sandler, Robert Smigel, and Paul Sado is predictable and treats the talking lizard as a poorly kept secret. The film tries to make a big deal out of Leo's ability to talk, but it ultimately falls flat, feeling forced and lacking in magic. The addition of a turtle character named Squirtle, voiced by Bill Burr, adds little to the story aside from offhand urination jokes.

Surprisingly, "Leo" also features musical sequences, but they come across as cheap and lackluster. The film attempts to compete with other animated movies that prioritize soundtracks, but the cut corners are evident in the short, underwhelming musical numbers. Overall, "Leo" falls short of its potential, failing to deliver a truly engaging and memorable animated experience.

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