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April 15, 2009
Review - " Bedtime Stories "  - (on DVD) By Roland Hansen
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Bedtime Stories movie poster
Bedtime Stories
Directed by: Adam Shankman
Starring: Adam Sandler, Keri Russell, Guy Pearce, Russell Brand, Richard
Griffiths, Jonathan Pryce, Courtney Cox, Lucy Lawless,
Teresa Palmer

A family comedy about a hotel handyman whose life changes when the
fantastical bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew start to magically come

The old Hollywood maxim applies as much today, as ever: Don’t compete on the
screen with young children or animals. In "Bedtime Stories", Sandler appears
with both and, apart from being generally upstaged by a CG-enhanced guinea
pig, manages to hold his own pretty well. Adam Sandler’s very first film squarely
aimed at the family market, his bawdy buffoonery is much toned down.

Adam Sandler plays Skeeter Bronson, a somewhat socially dysfunctional but
generally nice guy, who works as a handyman and general dog’s body in a
small, elite LA hotel once owned by his father (Jonathan Pryce). Asked by his
sister Wendy (Courtney Cox) to look after her kids for a few days while she
takes off to Phoenix for a job interview, Skeeter initially finds the task
challenging, especially as his niece (Laura Ann Kelsing) and nephew (Jonathan
Morgan Heit) have grown up sheltered from TV, computer games and even fast
food. This means that Skeeter has to become more inventive when it comes to
entertaining the kids instead of just parking them in front of the tube with a pizza. Thus in desperation, he begins telling them
bedtime stories, all based, albeit loosely, on his own trials and frustrations in the daily workplace.

Giving free reign to his fantasy, he tells the kids adventurous tales of noble knights, the Wild West, Greek heroes and bold
space travelers, and the kids just eat them up, soon adding their own imaginative elements to the mix. And to Skeeter’s
amazement, the stories magically start becoming true - to the extent where the fine line between fantasy and reality is no
longer so easy to determine. Fantasy sequences are interspersed throughout, all featuring Sandler and the ensemble,
when the bedtime stories come to life.

Apart from Skeeter’s problems at the hotel, where he has to vie with the unctuous
hotel manager (a wonderfully slimy Guy Pierce), there is a touch of romance with
the children’s teacher, Jill (Keri Russell), some comedy interaction with his buddy
Mickey (British comic Russel Brand - brilliant in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall") and
some good interludes with the boss’s daughter Violet (played by Australian
actress Teresa Palmer) - a terrific Paris-Hilton parody - as well as a few
mandatory tear-jerking scenes where Skeeter saves the day. All underscored
with the excellent music of Rupert Gregson-Williams - produced where else, but
in Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions.

Shankman directs his international ensemble cast with a sure hand and all of
them do him proud - especially the big-eyed guinea pig (uncredited), who pretty
well upstages everybody and certainly got the most laughs. Although the
comedy is largely random and many situations well over-the-top, "Bedtime
Stories" is good family entertainment, especially for younger viewers.
Adam Sandler in gumball rainstorm - Bedtime Stories