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Bedtime Stories

On the face of it,Bedtime Stories is one of those stories told at bedtime: safe,comforting and predictable. But there is a topping: it has Adam Sandler,a hero whose main virtue isn't his looks,kingdom or valour but a likeability that helps you overlook all of it. He is Shrek,with an "ass" by his side.

Written by Shalini Langer | New Delhi |
January 30, 2009 5:22:44 pm

Starring: Adam Sandler,Keri Russell,Guy Pearce,Courteney Cox

Director: Adam Shankman

On the face of it,Bedtime Stories is one of those stories told at bedtime: safe,comforting and predictable. But there is a topping: it has Adam Sandler,a hero whose main virtue isn’t his looks,kingdom or valour but a likeability that helps you overlook all of it. He is Shrek,with an “ass” by his side.

Plus,it has two children whose smiles don’t overlast ours.

So the story of a hotel handyman with dreams of one day owning a hotel of his own,and his fanciful bedtime stories to his nephew and niece which come real isn’t as implausible as it sounds. Sandler’s cheery earnestness stands him in good stead — you want what he wants,for he doesn’t want for wanting it. He adroitly strikes the right note even with the children.

Sandler’s Skeeter Branson doesn’t have much experience with them but an interaction doesn’t really throw his world upside down. Branson just follows a simple rule: do what he did,and liked,in his childhood. Yes,it still works!

As for Branson’s ambitions,he isn’t maudlin about it. Life is good,it could be better. Who can argue with that,especially with magical luck helping?

The two women,Russell (the children’s teacher-cum-guardian) and Teresa Palmer (Paris Hilton with a heart of silver,if not gold),don’t really have much to do except figure in Branson’s stories. Courteney Cox doesn’t figure at all.

A creature that does hog an inordinate amount of space,though,is this guinea pig with enormous eyes. Yes,those eyes stop you in your tracks,but how often does one need reminding?

The two children who help put these tales together with valuable,but thankfully children-like inputs,are competent foils to Sandler. He is trying to re-discover his childhood,which included some magical moments with his father; they are trying to find a foothold as adults without a father around them. In this film,for some time,they find a delicate balance.

shalini.langer@expressindia.com

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