Leo is a super fun kids movie that is filled with songs and important life lessons. The always funny Adam Sandler is the standout as class pet Leo.
Netflix’s new animated film Leo stars Adam Sandler as the voice of a lizard who is a fifth grade class pet. His terrarium roommate, Squirtle the turtle, is voiced by Bill Burr. When Leo realizes that he is nearing death, he comes up with a bucket list of items to accomplish before he leaves this world, and realized the kids are his easiest way of breaking out.
When he goes home with them, he starts talking to them instead of escaping, and quickly realizes the best thing he can do is offer advice from his many years of wisdom thanks to observing seventy-four years of fifth grade classrooms. This advice is sure to teach important life lessons to viewers — and not just the younger audience.
Many of these lessons are taught through song, either by Leo singing, or the kids themselves. There are multiple musical numbers throughout the movie, some that are better than others, but all are entertaining. The one about crying in particular, is the standout thanks to the hilarious Adam Sandler, but all will have you tapping your toes.
It is incredible how much the animation lizard looks like Adam, and how much the turtle looks like Bill. It is clear that the animators took inspiration from the recording sessions to not only deliver facial features, but their mannerisms as well. No offense to Adam Sandler, but it often feels as if we are watching him talk and sing, rather than a wrinkly old lizard.
Speaking of the animation, the design of the Kindergarteners is hilarious and fitting. They are an ongoing joke in the movie and viewers will not be able to hold in their laughter by the end of the film. Stay through the credits for more of their antics!
Leo is a movie that is something the entire family can enjoy. It isn’t just for the kids, which can sometimes be the case. Instead, there is a lot to love about it for parents as well. It hits home in regards to time feeling like it is running out. And especially for parents who have children that are in fifth grade, or higher elementary grades, or lower middle school grades.
This is extremely relatable and captures the things that kids are going through during this time in their lives. Puberty is no fun, and it starts to really come into play in these grades, causing a lot of questions to rise up. What works so well with Leo is that the advice and lessons are offered to a variety of problems.
From the smallest thing like hair on your back, to major ones like your parents getting a divorce, this film is sure to address multiple variations of questions so that all kids feel seen. It is certain that everyone watching will leave with something.
Probably the biggest issue with Leo is that it feels like there are some kids we just don’t get to know well enough. Of course, this is due to time constraint. If we got to know every single child in the classroom, the movie would be hours long.
Instead, there are a core few that have heavy focus, another handful that get their time with Leo explained through his conversations with Squirtle, and then a few that don’t really have time to shine. Again, we know why this is, but as the third act comes together, we wish we had gotten to know them all.
Overall, Leo is a lot of fun for the whole family. While the whole cast is great, Adam Sandler is the true standout as he puts his years of comedic experience to use. The songs are catchy and entertaining, but it is the multiple life lessons and important advice for viewers of all ages that will be remembered.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Actor and comedian Adam Sandler (Hotel Transylvania, The Wedding Singer) delivers signature laughs in this coming-of-age animated musical comedy about the last year of elementary school – as seen through the eyes of a class pet. Jaded 74-year-old lizard Leo (Sandler) has been stuck in the same Florida classroom for decades with his terrarium-mate turtle (Bill Burr).
When he learns he only has one year left to live, he plans to escape to experience life on the outside but instead gets caught up in the problems of his anxious students — including an impossibly mean substitute teacher. It ends up being the strangest but most rewarding bucket list ever…
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.