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Leo Review: Adam Sandler’s animated flick is likable even with the rough edges

Adam Sandler's chemistry with Bill Burr is so good that they need to be on some podcast together discussing anything under the sun.

Leo Review: Adam Sandler’s animated flick is likable even with the rough edges
Leo Review

Last Updated: 08.07 PM, Nov 21, 2023


Now out on Netflix, a school’s pet lizard named Leo (Adam Sandler) suddenly realizes that his lifespan is 75 years, and he is already in the 74th year of his existence. So, with his turtle friend, he decides to run away but instead finds an interesting life inside the school itself. He becomes the teacher one never expected and finds a purpose.

Leo Review:

Animation is technically the most convenient option to make a widespread audience suspend their disbelief. A drone doubling as security and a friend to a lonely child studying in the fifth grade without a single human friend might someday be a reality, but for now, it's a dystopian joke none of us really want to laugh at like it could never happen. In Adam Sandler’s Leo, the clever approach of creating characters and introducing them respectfully, even when they are early teens, is what takes the trophy home.

The humaneness of this world creates a charm of its own, elevating Leo to a high where the movie is already watchable. The hustle now is to make it a rewarding watch. But did writers Robert Smigel, Adam Sandler, and Paul Sado, with directors Robert Marianetti, Smigel, and David Wachtenheim manage to do that? What works in favor of Leo is also what goes against it.

It is a story that talks of mortality when it begins; it's a tale of friendship between two animals that live and have lived a long life; it is set in a classroom of kids suffering from many problems/situations. One of them is a migrant conveniently trolled for a country that he hasn’t even been to or belongs to. Adam, just like in Hotel Transylvania, tries to give each character he creates a purpose and a goal. This is where his attention to detail kicks in. The said drone has feelings in his world. The turtle is cracking sleazy jokes, reminding us that this could still be a children’s film but is also addressing you—the adult watching it.

But, as I said, what works in favor also distracts the movie from its main aim. Midway through, we have forgotten that Leo only has a year to live. Suddenly, it's about him finding a purpose for his life and fulfilling it like a pro. But what about the time? What about his aspiration to live like a wild lizard hunting insects? Do we not address it? In the journey to give every single character redemption in the end, it is Leo who ends up getting a rushed climax, and that isn’t serving the purpose.

Adam Sandler voicing Leo is fun. Since he is involved in writing this story, he knows what tone Leo needs to have, and you can hear that confidence in his voice. His chemistry with Bill Burr is so good to witness, and they need to be on some podcast together discussing anything under the sun. Everyone else does an impressive job, and no one lets the voice department flicker.


The animation in Leo is beautiful. The way it uses real-life machines to create humor is commendable. It tries to stick to the real world to make you believe the story and its message. Every time it seems too simple or outlandish, one must also be reminded that the target audience is mostly kids who aren’t in sync with your hunger for nuances.

What feels like an oddball in Leo is the inconsistent musical part of it. While the opening track is beautiful and helpful in establishing the classroom, every other musical piece that follows looks uncomfortable and unnecessary. It even disrupts the tone of the entire movie.

Leo Verdict:

Leo deserves a chance because even when flawed, it is still very much likable, and you cannot ignore the charm it holds.


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