Sunday, April 05, 2009
Adam Sandler is a strange guy when it comes to making movies. He's not everyone's taste, understandably, but when he focuses on the sweeter side of his characters, you can get some pretty good movies out of him. As someone who grew up in the 80's, I could totally relate to "The Wedding Singer," and "50 First Dates" makes me feel good every time I watch it. Sandler frequently has misfires, like the dreadful "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," or the slightly less horrible "Mr. Deeds." But knowing that he can make an enjoyable movie like "Big Daddy" can still make me pick up his latest DVD. Sandler's latest outing is "Bedtime Stories," a PG rated movie innocuous enough to watch with your kids [which I did]. Sandler plays Skeeter, a hotel maintenance man who works at the hotel he once had dreams of running. He's a lovable, shlumpy guy who is mostly underrated by everyone who knows him but he's given a chance to prove himself after he is asked to babysit his niece and nephew for six days. Not knowing what to do to entertain the kids (there's no television at their house!) Skeeter goes back to his favorite childhood tradition and starts telling the kids bedtime stories. Before long Skeeter begins to realize that elements from the stories start to come true in real life-- though only the parts that are contributed by the kids. Thanks to his nighttime storytelling Skeeter ends up with the opportunity fulfill his lifelong dream to run the hotel if he can come up with a better hotel theme than his rival Kendall (Guy Pearce). So he goes back each night to tell the kids a new story and tries to guide their imaginations in a way that's favorable to his situation. Like a lot of Sandler movies "Bedtime Stories" is an ensemble comedy with game performances by the supporting cast including Pearce, Russell Brand, Keri Russell and Lucy Lawless. The kids are adorable, though often upstaged by a computer-enhanced guinea pig named Bugsy. But the best moments come from the goofiness that comes out of the stories the kids tell. Nothing ends up quite as expected and getting kicked by a midget is the least of the odd things that happen to Skeeter. The movie is it's best when it reminds us how important imagination is to a kid, and that sometimes Saturday morning cartoons and s'mores are as important to a child's well being as knowing that someone loves you. "Bedtime Stories" isn't Sandler's best movie, though it features a pretty terrific supporting cast (Guy Pearce proves he can do comedy every bit as well as drama). The comedy isn't quite as sharp as I've come to expect from Sandler and while he and Russell are cute together, they don't have the same chemistry as Sandler does with Drew Barrymore. I would also have liked to see more elements from the stories bleed into real life and maybe even create more outrageous situations than what did show up on screen. Nonetheless it's still good for quite a few laughs and my kids really enjoyed it. With all the bland kid's movies I've had to sit through for the last year [at least] I enjoyed "Bedtime Stories" and appreciated that it could keep all of us entertained for an evening. My family gives this one a thumbs up.