Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Adam Sandler’s new Netflix movie Leo is a feel-good, family-friendly delight

Published Nov 22nd, 2023 5:24PM EST
Leo on Netflix
Image: Netflix

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

I probably don’t need to remind you of the only two things in life that are guaranteed, but there’s a case to be made for adding a third. Go ahead and roll your eyes if you want, but it involves Adam Sandler — specifically, it’s that attaching him to any Netflix release is essentially like pulling a lever that automatically brings the viewership rolling in. Hustle, his Murder Mystery movies with Jennifer Aniston, You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah — all of them did big numbers for the streamer, and he’s about to do it again with his super-charming Leo.

What it’s about: In the newly released animated Leo, which I suspect will also make for some perfect post-Thanksgiving entertainment when the family is all seated around the TV, Sandler voices a lizard who’s the class pet at an elementary school.

Adam Sandler as the voice of Leo.
Adam Sandler as the voice of Leo. Image source: Netflix

What this coming-of-age movie is really about, though, is the last year of elementary school, and the growing up that it portends. We see everything — from the teacher’s instructions to the interaction among the children — through the eyes of the raspy-voiced Leo, the 74-year-old class pet who’s been stuck in the same Florida classroom for years alongside the same turtle (voiced by Bill Burr).

Leo ultimately learns that he only has one year left to live, so he plans to mount an escape that will allow him to finally enjoy a little bit of life “out there” — an effort that gets waylaid by poor Leo finding himself caught up in the problems of anxious students. You know where all this is going, leading to a reminder about appreciating the here and now, but it’s ridiculously heart-warming all the same.

Who’s in it: The voice cast includes —

  • Adam Sandler (Leo)
  • Bill Burr (Squirtle)
  • Cecily Strong (Mrs. Malkin)
  • Jason Alexander (Jayda’s Dad)
  • Rob Schneider (Principal)
  • Sadie Sandler (Jayda)
  • Sunny Sandler (Summer)
  • Jackie Sandler (Jayda’s Mom)

Why you should watch: Have I mentioned that Leo is unapologetically feel-good? I’d even go so far as to say it’s the kind of movie that Pixar used to be able to crank out in its sleep back in its heyday. “One of the things that really appealed to us was, as far as an animated film goes, the smaller, softer, quieter nature of it,” said co-director Robert Marianetti.

“You’re talking to people instead of blowing things up. People always say, ‘Oh, it’s for all ages, 8 to 80.’ Well, this film really is. It deals with kids and their problems, which feel so grand when you’re 10 years old and your friend stops talking to you. That’s the end of the world. But it also deals with a 74-year-old who realizes he’s almost at his expiration date. It deals with all ages, and I think the tone that Adam and Robert chose to go with was really appealing. I thought, if we could pull this off, it’s going to be special.”

Check out an official clip from Leo below:

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

More Entertainment