This week on streaming: festive film season has arrived

JL
December 1 2023 - 4:00am
Adam Sandler voices Leo the tuatara (right) while Bill Burr voices Squirtle the turtle (left) in Leo and, below, contestants compete in Squid Game - The Challenge. Pictures by Netflix
Adam Sandler voices Leo the tuatara (right) while Bill Burr voices Squirtle the turtle (left) in Leo and, below, contestants compete in Squid Game - The Challenge. Pictures by Netflix

Leo

Netflix

Following the all-around success of his YA comedy You Are So Not Invited to my Bat Mitzvah, Adam Sandler is back with another Netflix film for younger audiences - this time it's the little kids. Leo is a charmingly animated story about an elder lizard - a tuatara to be specific, which comes from New Zealand yet in the movie is somehow common in Florida - who is determined to escape from the school classroom he's called home for seven decades. He wants to get some life experiences into him before his time is up. When a new substitute teacher institutes a policy that a student must take home one of the class pets every weekend, meaning either Leo or his buddy Squirtle the turtle (voiced by comedian Bill Burr), the tuatara thinks this will be his chance to make a run for it. But it turns out he's got a bigger calling - giving advice to the fifth-graders who take him home. Because in this film, animals can talk to humans, but they just pretend they can't. The story itself is pretty cute and some of the humour lands, but it's also got several musical numbers which it could probably do without. Early in the film Leo swallows a caterpillar and spits it out as a butterfly - a neat little metaphor for the journey of the children once he's through with them. There are some fun pop cultural references for the parents and the depiction of kindergarteners as little feral critters is quite amusing.

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JL

Jess Layt

Journalist

Hi! I'm a pop culture obsessive and write film and TV content across ACM.

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