January 31, 2009 10:55:24 pm
Cast: 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 isnt 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 dont 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 isnt as implausible as it sounds. Sandlers cheery earnestness stands him in good stead you want what he wants,for he doesnt want for wanting it. He adroitly strikes the right note even with the children.
Sandlers Skeeter Branson doesnt have much experience with them but an interaction doesnt 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 Bransons ambitions,he isnt 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 childrens teacher-cum-guardian) and Teresa Palmer (Paris Hilton with a heart of silver,if not gold),dont really have much to do except figure in Bransons stories. Courteney Cox doesnt 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.
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