Adam Sandler voices a lizard in 'Leo'

Adam Sandler Is a Classroom Pet on a Mission in Netflix’s ‘Leo’

Bringing the classroom pet home for a long weekend is a time-honored tradition in many American schools. Caring for the class Guinea pig or turtle is a great way to teach kids about responsibility and empathy, just ask Leo … Adam Sandler’s newest animated character, who’s spent his entire life living in a terrarium inside a fictional Florida classroom. In Leo, Sandler’s newest film for Netflix, the actor plays a lizard who longs for more than those four glass walls.

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Leo hits the streamer on November 21, 2023, providing another excellent distraction from whatever you have going on this Thanksgiving. Here’s everything you need to know about this family-friendly comedy musical.

What’s Leo about?

Back in 1949, a baby lizard called Leo was brought to the Fort Myers Elementary School to be a class pet. For the next 74 years, Leo lives a boring yet content life with other class pets, including his tank mate, Squirtle the turtle (voiced by Bill Burr). One day, Leo overhears someone say he’s getting up there in years, and he realizes he only has about a year left to live.

Leo becomes determined to escape his trapped fate and get a taste of real life. He uses every opportunity to get away, especially the weekends he spends with students in their homes. After a student realizes he can speak, Leo starts giving the kids advice and helping them through their last year of elementary school.

“These kids are now benefiting from my 74 years of wisdom,” he says in the trailer.

Only Sandler’s trademark voice can make a throwaway line like “They’re naturally moist” sound that funny!

Leo’s attempts to escape may not be successful, but the advice he doles out to the students is helpful. Presumably, he finds a new purpose and meaning in his life by offering free therapy to these surprisingly anxious children. Add in an evil substitute teacher, and you’ve got the perfect villain to advance the plot.

Who worked on Leo?

Sandler takes the lead in Leo, which he co-wrote with Robert Smigel and Paul Sado. Smigel also serves as co-director with Robert Marianetti and David Wachtenheim.

Side note: Smigel is the writer/performer who brought us subversive comedy gems like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. He also wrote the parody cartoon sketches for TV Funhouse on SNL from 1996-2008, which were animated and produced by none other than Marianetti and Wachtenheim. Sounds like a dream team!

As for the cast …

Aside from Burr, castmates also include Saturday Night Live alums Cecily Strong, Rob Schneider, Heidi Gardner, and Smigel. Jason Alexander, Stephanie Hsu, Jo Koy, Nick Swardson, and Nicholas Turturro also lend their voices to roles in Leo.

Sandler went ahead and cast his immediate family in prominent roles again, as is his wont. Wife Jackie Sandler voices Jayda’s mom, while daughters Sunny and Sadie Sandler voice Summer and Jayda, respectively.

When and where to watch Leo

Leo will stream exclusively on Netflix starting on November 21, 2023. We’re excited to watch this one with our family. It promises to be relatable for viewers both young and old.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She writes about pop culture, entertainment, and web memes, and has published a book or a funny day-to-day desk calendar about web humor every year for a decade. When not writing, she's listening to audiobooks or watching streaming movies under a pile of her very loved (spoiled) pets.