Movie Review: Bedtime Stories

Posted by on Dec 27, 2008 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Movie Review: Bedtime Stories

edtime Stories is the kind of children’s tale that sounds like it would make a great book. Unfortunately, great books don’t always make great movies, and Bedtime Stories is far from a great film.Adam Sandler, in agreeable-naif mode, plays Skeeter, a maintenance worker with dreams of running the hotel that employs him. Of course, he has a villain to deal with: Kendall (Guy Pearce) is a dandy with impeccable manners and plans for taking over the hotel.

Skeeter has to care for his niece and nephew for one week while his sister (Courteney Cox) goes out of town for a job interview. She is overprotective and health-conscious; The Organic Squirrel Gets a Bicycle Helmet is one of the children’s favorite storybooks.

Rather than indulge in such green fiction, Skeeter creates original tales to entertain the kids before bedtime. The children add their own twists to the stories, which all involve characters from their real lives.

The hook is that whatever the kids describe will happen to Skeeter the next day, albeit in a slightly twisted interpretation. For instance, the kids say he will encounter Abraham Lincoln and he finds a Lincoln penny. Not exactly a laugh riot, but cute.

The movie runs into trouble with its multiple fantasy sequences. We see what Skeeter and the children describe, so we get Sandler in gladiator garb or as an intergalactic boxer. The film pretty much stops dead during these moments. They’re not funny, and because there’s never any suspense in how the fantasies will play out, they repeatedly land with a thud.

Unfortunately, the “realistic” segments are not particularly engaging, either. Sandler is appealing, but Keri Russell has nothing to do as a potential love interest.

Other cast members are wasted, with Pearce playing his role cartoonishly broad. British bad-boy comic Russell Brand plays Skeeter’s best pal, and putting him in a Disney family comedy is like having Lil Wayne open for the Wiggles. The comedian just seems straitjacketed.

Director Adam Shankman had better luck with his last film, the energetic musical Hairspray. Here, the result is akin to a version of The Wizard of Oz in which both Oz and Kansas are presented in dull sepia tones.

On the other hand, the novelization of the screenplay probably would make a pretty decent bedtime story.