Bedtime Stories (PG)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byLouise Parry22/12/2008

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 99 minutes

A fun idea turns into a so-so comedy thanks to an unappealing hero and variable performances from the well-known cast.

What’s it all about?
Serial big screen-botherer Adam Sandler plays Skeeter Bronson, a hapless hotel handyman, in this family comedy. Charged with looking after his niece and nephew, Skeeter invents bedtime stories for them starring various versions of himself. When the stories begin to come true he tries to change his own future, but who’s really controlling the narrative, him or the kids? Mishaps follow as each tale gets twisted to thwart Skeeter and his pursuit of promotion and beautiful women. Bring on the raining gumballs and the angry dwarves…

The Good
The engaging premise should appeal to fans of both fairytales and paranormal dramas. What kid wouldn’t want their exciting bedtime story to come true and what adult wouldn’t jump at the chance to control their own destiny? Lessons, of course, are learned as Skeeter tries to use the magic to win him hard cash, and it’s quite fun seeing him being slapped down to size for being both greedy and stupid.

The supporting cast list is full of pleasant surprises: Jonathan Pryce as Skeeter’s father in the flashback scenes, and Richard Griffiths as the hotel boss who gives Skeeter the chance to manage his new property. Keri Russell is charming as a right-on teacher who’s great with kids - she’ll get the dad vote for sure - as will her opposite, sexy It girl Violet (Teresa Palmer).

The Bad
If you’re not a Sandler fan, this will hardly convert you. It’s hard to identify with him at the best of times, but Bedtime Stories gives the actor a particularly worthless character to work with. Why should this lazy guy - who’s often openly unpleasant to people - be rewarded? This isn’t exactly a fairytale message. And while some of the well-known cast deliver, others are on worst-ever form: the normally wonderful Guy Pearce puts in an excruciating turn as Skeeter’s slimy rival (think seaside panto), and both Russell Brand and Courtney Cox are terrible as Skeeter’s friend and sister respectively.

Worth seeing?
If you’ve time to pass and kids in tow, you could do worse, but this still fails to live up to its potential and has a few cringeworthy moments.

Bedtime Stories London Premiere

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Content updated: 16/02/2019 12:18

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