Adam Sandler’s schtick is well-practiced. Whether it’s Grown Ups, 42 or whatever other Happy Madison Productions flick he is pumping out, we haven’t seen much new material over the last decade. Still, periodically, Sandler chooses to show us his depth, whether it’s in a live action film or something like Hotel Transylvania 2.
Yeah, I said it.
Count Dracula’s (Adam Sandler) daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) weds human Dennis (Andy Samberg) and, a year later, their son is born. As the boy ages, the dialogue between Dracula and Mavis becomes multi-layered by covering topics such as where the couple should live, how the boy should be taught, and whether or not the kid is a monster or a human. All of this is set against the backdrop that includes Frankenstein (Kevin James), Wayne the werewolf (Steve Buscemi), Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade), and Murray the mummy (Keegan-Michael Key). (For the record: this is several times funnier than the first one.)
When Dracula sends Mavis and Dennis off to vacation at Dennis’ parents’ home, he and his crew take the boy on a trip to all of their old haunts, literally. Dracula is convinced that he can help the boy’s fangs come in and prove that he is actually a vampire, not a human. This is the overall plot of the movie, which will also wrap Dracula’s father, Vlad (Mel Brooks), into the storyline. Humor? Yes, it’s here in graveyard spades, but how about the various issues that Robert Smigel and Sandler’s storyline raises?
Dracula’s desire to keep his daughter close reflects a parental desire to protect, but it’s also that part of growing up that makes parents cringe: change. I’d often propose that people are allergic to change in the first place, no matter what kind, but every parent risks losing their children forever once they leave home. Sandler might not have his finger on the pulse of what makes America laugh, but he certainly understands the heart of a parent.
Heart. That’s another issue that the script plays with. Mavis tells Dracula early in the sequel that he may have changed his mind about humans, but he hasn’t changed his heart. Dracula’s open-mindedness, his ‘conversion’ to equality, has only been intellectual; his internal processes and view of the world has not truly been molded into a new being. This is the crux of the film, and the issue that easily translates spiritually.
It is genuinely hard to change our minds. Whether it’s dealing with a new found affinity or geographic transition that results in rooting for a new team (especially a hated rival) or the burning social issues of homosexuality, religion, abortion, gun control, etc., we struggle to think in a new way. But how often have we been convinced and yet still inwardly, we doubt?
Over and over again, we are told in Scripture that God will give us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26, Psalm 51:10). In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes that “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” He knew that we could change our minds, but we needed help to change our hearts. It’s true for us as Christians, and it’s true for Dracula, who needs a child to show him what is important.
Isn’t it amazing how a child can change our hearts?