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Adam Sandler Offers Smart And Funny Lizardly Advice To Kids In Netflix’s Endearing New Toon’ Leo


Following the success of their unexpectedly funny family film You Are Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah in 2023, Adam Sandler and Happy Madison Productions have returned with another hit for Netflix: the delightful and remarkably wise CGI animated film Leo. For children and their parents, who also learn a few lessons along the way, it is a charmer.

Leo, a 74-year-old iguana, is voiced by Sandler as though he were going to speak at a friar’s roast. Since the 1940s, Leo has spent his entire life on exhibit in a fifth-grade classroom with changing student groups. Beside him is his best friend Squirtle, a memorable talking turtle portrayed by Bill Burr.

They talk only to each other, never letting the students or teachers know that they can also have conversations with people. They are like the Bert and Ernie of the classroom. For whatever reason, Leo believes that all lizards, regardless of color, automatically pass away at the age of 75. As a result, he wants to cross everything off his bucket list and experience life to the fullest before he passes away.

In order to accomplish this, a chance to accomplish so is presented by the incredibly grumpy and terrifying stand-in Miss Malkin (Cecily Strong), who assigns willing students a task that allows them to take home one of the class “pets.”

Leo weasels his way into the assignment, starting with Summer (Sunny Sandler), a much too talkative young girl who is initially shocked to see Leo can talk (he assures her she is the only one who will ever know), but soon learns an important lesson in life. one of many to come as, once word gets out, other children offer to take Leo home as well.

These kids are Eli, Mia, Anthony, Cole, Jayda, and Eli; each has a unique set of issues that Leo, who is now acting as a kind of class therapist, can readily resolve based on all the fifth graders he has ever seen.

Together with Sandler, SNL veterans Robert Smigel, Robert Mariantetti, and David Wachtenheim—all of whom contributed to the iconic SNL TV Funhouse shorts—turn this into a funhouse of their own. Smigel’s humorous songs are strewn throughout, leading to the kids’ showcase of the best of them, “When I Was Ten,” which, in my opinion, should be nominated for an Oscar for Best Song.

This is a true family outing, just like Bat Mitzvah was, with actors from the SNL wheelhouse like Rob Schneider, Heidi Gardner, and Strong all scoring points, along with Smigel’s kids and Sandler’s daughters Sunny and Sadie, and even their mother Jackie.

Having previously produced successful films like Eight Crazy Nights and the popular Hotel Transylvania series, Sandler is no stranger to the world of animation. Along with Smigel and Paul Sado, he wrote the script. It works on several levels, much like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, another of my favorite animated movies of the year, which was made possible by the comedic touches of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. People of all ages will find a lot to enjoy in Leo.

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