Finnegan On Film: A Sandler Double And Courtroom Drama On The Box

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, on three movies worth a look on TV tonight…

Slim pickings this week on the television film front, but there is always something to get your teeth into.

Speaking of which, Hotel Transylvania 2 (Saturday 6.35pm RTE1) is a second bite off the bat in the Hotel Transylvania series that is the best of the three animated films so far.

However, it is also true to say that most of the jokes are as old, and occasionally basic, as the 539-year-old protagonist.

Count “Drac” Dracula’s (Adam Sandler) daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) marries her human boyfriend Jonathan (Adam Samberg) and they have a son, Dennis. By the age of five, Dennis is a cause of concern for his grandfather, having failed to show a sign of vampire powers.

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Granddad Drac tries to bring them out, especially when Vlad (Mel Brooks), Dennis’s ultra-conservative, human hating great-grandfather appears – a little too late in the story for me, but I’m a big Mel Brooks fan!

Yes, the jokes are corny at best and the series regulars Kevin James (Frankenstein), Steve Buscemi (Werewolf Wayne) and David Spade (Griffin the Invisible Man) don’t have as much to do as you would hope.

However, while there is some bathroom humour, and also a lot of slapstick that may be too much for the very young, it will be fine for a Saturday evening.

Runaway Jury (Saturday 9.35pm TG4) is simply one of the best screen adaptations of a John Grisham novel, the famous American novelist, lawyer and former politician.

After a workplace shooting in New Orleans, a widow sues the company that made the gun that killed her husband.

The trial pits lawyer Wendel Rohr (Dustin Hoffman) against Jury Consultant Rankin Fitch (Gene Hackman) who uses any means, legal or not, to stack the jury with people sympathetic to the defence side.

Enter Juror Nicholas Easter (John Cusack) and his girlfriend Marlee (Rachel Weisz) who say that they can sway the jury into delivering any verdict they want, but only to the highest bidder.

There are so many twists and turns in the plot  that you have to stay alert, and rather than a simple goodie verses baddie story, you have the characters not only opposed to each other, but having to resolve serious moral issues of how bad they need to get to win.

Adam Sandler also appears in this weekend’s third film Spanglish (Saturday 10.30pm RTE2).

Flor Moreno (Paz Vega), a poor Mexican single mother, is offered a well paid housekeeping job to a wealthy American celebrity chef, John Clasky (the aforementioned Sandler).  Together with her daughter, she moves to Los Angeles.

However, John’s wife Deborah (Tea Leoni) is the cause of a number of difficulties, as does Debora’s mother, Evelyn.

The story is told through the eyes of Flor’s daughter Christina. Directed and Written by the redoubtable James l. Brooks, the premise might seem bland at best, but the performances, especially from Vega, Leoni and, dare I say, Sandler together with a witty layered screenplay make this well worth a watch. Enjoy and stay safe!

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