Movie #43: Bedtime Stories

It seems a bit harsh to criticize a sweet little kids movie like Bedtime Stories when all it’s trying to do is put a little artificial sweetness out in the world. Adam Sandler plays Skeeter, a (you guessed it) man-child, who was raised in a hotel by his father the owner (cameo by Jonathan Pryce). As an adult, he still works there, but it long ago became part of a large chain run by a magnate named Barry Nottingham (played by Richard Griffiths). (For some reason, there was an attempt to collect hotel-based cliches for this story — Nottingham is a Howard-Hughes-esque germaphobe; his daughter Violet is a hot, young, Paris-Hilton-esque party-girl.) Skeeter also has a fussy, politically-correct, health-nut sister Wendy (played by Courtney Cox — quite a stretch there!), a hipster-doofus best friend Mickey (played by Russell Brand — another stretch) and a pair of nemeses in overly-coiffed, effete pretty-boy Kendall (played by an over-the-top Guy Pearce) and icy, dim-witted front-desk manager Aspen (played cartoonishly by Lucy Lawless). When the school where Wendy works as a teacher is being closed down, she goes out-of-town for some interviews, leaving her two kids, Patrick and Bobbi, in the hands of Skeeter and her friend/colleague Jill (played by Keri Russell). At first Skeeter is a stranger to Jill and the kids, but as they spend more time together, they warm to each other. It also helps that Skeeter learned from his father how to tell bedtime stories that let the kids use their imagination. Courtesy of a little Disney magic, the stories become spectacularly visualized fantasy sequences set in ancient Greece, the wild West, even outer space. However, in addition to being fun little tales, they also appear to be coming true in Skeeter’s real life. Courtesy of one story, he gets a chance to pitch an idea to Nottingham for how to run the hotel. Despite the requisite collision of circumstances that eventually bring things to rock-bottom, in the end, Skeeter saves the day. Despite being incredibly sappy and devoid of realism, this movie is not a disaster. Maybe it’s the blinding glare from all the cuteness (except that bug-eyed guinea pig, which is more creepy than cute) that kept me from hating this movie. (3 out of 5)

7 more to go!

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