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Sunday
Jan182009

Bedtime Stories

I love kids movies that can make me feel like a child again. I love those films that can strike a resonance with the little tyke in me and give me that sense of wonder and imagination that only a young kid can have. Unfortunately, Bedtime Stories instead began to put me to sleep. How fitting.

The story follows Skeeter (Adam Sandler), a kid who has spent his whole life living in a hotel owned by his father. In order to get Skeeter's father to sign ownership over to him, Barry Nottingham promises that if Skeeter works hard enough, he will one day hand control of the hotel over to him. Flash forward years later and Skeeter is still working at the same hotel, now modernized and elegant. However, he is merely the handyman and is not being considered to take it over. After agreeing to watch his niece and nephew for a week, he finds out that their bedtime stories come true the next day. The catch is that only what the children say actually comes into fruition. Realizing this, Skeeter capitalizes on it and tries to use the children's bedtime stories to grab control of the hotel.

I have no doubt that excitement arose when this idea came up because it has so much potential. It has all the makings of a wonderful, imaginative film, but instead conjures up rather dull and lifeless predicaments. The filmmakers could have done anything with this idea, but the best they could come up with was raining gumballs and abuse by a dwarf. I was simply astonished at how vacuous this film became. The longer it went on, the less impressed I was by it. If you're looking for creativity, look elsewhere.

Of course, that could be overlooked if the film were actually funny, but it isn't and here's why. Comedy is dependent on the element of surprise. Anybody can tell you that if you know the punch line to a joke beforehand, the joke loses its kick and isn't funny. Due to the story in the film--kids control the tales and what they say comes true--everything is telegraphed way in advance. For example, one story Skeeter tells the children puts his character in space and since he is technically an alien, the kids say that he should be talking another language. The next day before Skeeter is set to give a speech, his tongue is stung by a bee and he begins to speak nonsense. This is supposed to be humorous because wouldn't you know it, that's just so silly. But it isn't funny because you know five minutes prior that this is going to happen. The element of surprise was practically non-existent in the film and, therefore, I rarely found myself laughing.

Still, it's a harmless movie that kids will probably enjoy due to Adam Sandler's quirkiness and it's a rare family film that has no objectionable content (maybe a little if you're uptight), but that doesn't necessarily make it good. There have been a slew of excellent family films released in recent years and I recommend you seek one of those out instead. As an adult that loves children's movies when done correctly, I'm going to have to suggest you skip Bedtime Stories.

Bedtime Stories receives 1.5/5

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