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Dec. 26, 2008

"Stories" for all of us

by Katie Sint, Online Managing Editor
Sometimes all you want from a movie are some corny, feel-good laughs. The newest Adam Sandler family flick, "Bedtime Stories," provides all that and more. With a creative storyline, great onscreen talent and wonderfully cheesy dialogue, this family film will please all audiences, regardless of age.

Bedtime Stories

(released December 25, 2008)
Chips Rating:
3.5 stars
PG
User Rating:
0 stars Votes: 0
Slacker uncle Skeeter (Sandler) discovers that his bedtime stories can alter the course of real life. Picture Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures


When goofy uncle Skeeter Bronson (Sandler) must baby-sit for his niece and nephew, Bobbi (Laura Ann Kesling) and Patrick (Jonathan Morgan Heit), he finds that the easiest way to entertain them is by telling imaginative bedtime stories. With a strange twist of fate, the stories begin to come true in real life, causing Skeeter to try to maneuver the stories to make his dreams come true. But with the help of his best friend Mickey (Russell Brand), schoolteacher Jill (Keri Russell) and the kids, Skeeter finds that his dreams may be bigger than he had imagined.

Like many of Sandler's other comedies, "Bedtime Stories" requires some suspension of disbelief; disbelief that bedtime stories can alter the course of real life, disbelief that such a goofy slacker could ever be considered a hero and disbelief that anyone would ever name their child Skeeter. But despite all the film's outrageousness, it resonates with something bigger than what's seen on screen: the need for a happy ending.

The film is well-cast, with Sandler in his typical starring role as the juvenile slacker who makes a life changing decision to become the hero. "Bedtime Stories" marks the first family film Sandler has made in a while, and his performance proves that he never should have left the genre. Kesling and Heit, who make their film debuts in this movie, play their parts levelheadedly, providing the perfect contrast to Sandler's off-the-wall character. The only questionable casting was of Skeeter's best friend, Mickey, played by Brand. Although perfect for the offbeat and somewhat crude character (think 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall"), Brand's humor seems out of place and awkward in a children's movie.

What will surely please audiences are the visual effects of the film. Each fantasy world, sculpted by the bedtime stories, is meticulously detailed, imaginative and complex. With each new bedtime story comes a new visually stunning fantasy sequence. From ancient Rome to the future in space, director Adam Shankman does a phenomenal job of creating these highly imaginative new worlds and seamlessly weaving the storyline within them.

The movie is, in essence, a cheesy family film. With booger jokes, a bug-eyed guinea pig and far-fetched tales, the flick is full of gags and thrills that will appeal to younger children. For older viewers, the film provides a chance to reminisce about bedtime stories of the past and a time when Adam Sandler still made funny movies.

"Bedtime Stories," in all its corny splendor, is a good way to spend some quality time with the family while enjoying a decent film. Part of a wholesome holiday season, the goofy jokes alone will make you more appreciative of your own sense of humor.

"Bedtime Stories" (95 minutes) is rated PG for some mild rude humor and mild language. Now playing in theaters everywhere.



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