Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bedtime Stories

Bedtime Stories, the new movie driven by Adam Sandler's presence, is pretty much a disaster.

The story is that Adam Sandler's character, Skeeter, who is a maintenance man with the local hotel, is asked to babysit his sister's (Courtney Cox) kids, kids he hasn't seen much of in 4 years. To entertain them, he tells them fantastical stories at bedtime, stories that seem to come true the next day. He tries to figure out a way to get this phenomenon to win him a job as the hotel manager in the face of heavy competition (Guy Pearce). In the meantime, he gets the girl (Keri Russell).

My first problem with the film is that Skeeter is a jerk. He slams the door in the face of Keri Russell's character (twice!), and then we're expected to believe he's winning her over. He wants to be hotel manager, but doesn't show any inkling that he knows anything about hotel management. We have to like Skeeter to believe that the kids would like him, and that Russell would fall for him.

My second problem is that, while I definitely enjoyed the fantasy parts of the program, they don't run long enough to really wring the enjoyment out of them. Or maybe it was that the return to reality is so flat. This script should've been so much livelier, so much funnier, but as it was, every punchline landed like a lead balloon.

There are some fun parts. Rob Schneider gets his usual cameo in a rather offensive bit, and I just laugh when I see him onscreen; he mugs so well. Lucy Lawless is the anal hotel clerk who has the hots for Guy Pearce.

But what a waste of talent for this stellar cast, whom all deserve better -- for Courtney Cox, Lucy Lawless, Guy Pearce, Keri Russell, and even Adam Sandler. I loved Sandler's "50 First Dates," but it had a wonderful premise with a different twist, and a script that step-by-step brought it all together. I keep hoping Sandler's films will do as well, and, so far, they're a big disappointment in the last few years.

Thumb's down.


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