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Bedtime Stories
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Reviewed on 2008-12-25
Received[3.5]  out of 4 stars
GenreComedy / Family / Fantasy
Adam Sandler and Walt Disney Pictures make an unbeatable combination in this family-friendly crowd-pleaser.

Skeeter Bronson (Sandler) is a handyman at a large hotel in Los Angeles. A flashback to the past reveals that the same location was the site of a motel owned by his father Marty (Jonathan Pryce) where Skeeter and his sister Wendy (Courtney Cox) grew up.

His father was forced to sell the property to opportunistic Barry Nottingham (Richard Griffiths) to avoid bankruptcy. As part of the deal, Nottingham promised that he would make Skeeter the manager when he became a man and had proved himself worthy.

In present day, Nottingham’s ambitious future-son-in-law Kendall (Guy Pearce) runs the hotel. Skeeter continues to dream of becoming the top dog. When his divorced sister goes out of town for a job interview, Skeeter agrees to share responsibility for watching his young niece and nephew with Wendy’s schoolteacher colleague Jill (the darling Keri Russell from “August Rush”, “Waitress” and “Felicity”). Jill takes the day shift and Skeeter has the kids under his care at night. Rather than read from books, he makes up tall tales at bedtime. He begins the stories and then the kids fill in the blanks and add on some quirky twists.

The characters in the fictional stories are played by the real life people taking a page from “The Wizard of Oz.” Believable real-life coincidences occur that improve Skeeter’s life stemming from the parts contributed by the kids’ boundless imagination. This clever concept makes for a fun and enjoyable ride that keeps getting better and better as it goes along. It is this year’s “Enchanted” without the music.

The winning ingredients are: Bugsy, a CGI-created guinea pig with bowling ball eyes; a humorous room-service waiter (British actor Russell Brand from “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”); a boo-hiss creepy villain (Pearce); a spoiled Paris Hilton-like celebrity daughter (Teresa Palmer), two cute-as-a button youngsters; the beautiful girl (Russell) and the extremely likeable and charismatic underdog worth cheering (Sandler).

Medieval times, the old West, ancient Greece and outer space are the settings for the four fables. This magical story boldly underlines the priceless value of imagination in the creative process. It also gives us a positive, uplifting message that happy endings are indeed possible in real life. A silver lining is just what everyone needs as we approach the promising start of a new calendar year.

Review By:
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"


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