"Bedtime Stories" is clean enough to fly the Walt Disney Pictures flag, yet it's full of bimbos and cleavage
and shots of Adam Sandler getting kicked in the shins by a dwarf.
In between little-person attacks, our Everyman character suffers the merciless insults of his social betters.
Hostility and pathos make for a very popular combination in comedy.
It worked for Chaplin, and it works for Sandler,
who may not be the new Chaplin -- clearly that title belongs to Rob Schneider, who turns up in a couple of cameos
here -- but who has his own proven Midas touch.
The premise recalls a Jerry Lewis vehicle from the early '60s. Sandler plays Skeeter, an L.A. hotel handyman under
the thumb of a germaphobe owner (Richard Griffiths) and a weasel of a manager (Guy Pearce) who is dating the boss'
Paris Hiltonesque daughter (Teresa Palmer) while stepping out with a fellow hotel employee (Lucy Lawless,
unrecognizable from her Xena days).
Skeeter and his sister (Courteney Cox) grew up in a motel bungalow court, and when their father (Jonathan Pryce,
who narrates) sold out to the Griffiths character, he promised the business to Skeeter. But no. The handyman longs,
years later, for a crack at running the hotel built on the old bungalow court's site. Now, the ruthless owners plan
to raze the elementary school where Skeeter's sister works as principal.
While Sis is away, Skeeter must baby-sit for his niece and nephew.
The adventure stories Skeeter spins for his initially skeptical charges range from knights in shining armor to the
Old West to "Star Wars"-type derring-do. As directed by Adam Shankman, who fared very nicely with the musical
"Hairspray," the film's fantasy vignettes offer a few laughs, though they never dominate the movie the way they
The idea is that the stories, where anything can happen, somehow manage to improve Skeeter's real life, which
has been clouded with disappointment. It's an adequate idea, dutifully delivered, and "Bedtime Stories" is
precisely the sort of thing big stars get interested in once they become parents and want their offspring
to talk about something other than Dad ogling Jessica Biel's buttocks in "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry."
Bedtime Stories Movie Trailer
MPAA rating: PG (for some mild rude humor and mild language).
Running time: 1:35.
Starring: Adam Sandler (Skeeter Bronson); Keri Russell (Jill); Guy Pearce (Kendall); Russell Brand (Mickey); Richard Griffiths (Mr. Nottingham); Jonathan Pryce (Marty); Courteney Cox (Wendy); Lucy Lawless (Aspen); Teresa Palmer (Violet).
Directed by Adam Shankman; written by Matt Lopez and Tim Herlihy; photographed by Michael Barrett; edited by Tom Costain and Michael Tronick; production design by Linda DeScenna; music by Rupert Gregson-Williams; produced by Andrew Gunn, Sandler and Jack Giarraputo. A Walt Disney Pictures release.
This charmless film concerns two lifelong friends, played by Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, whose competing weddings, mistakenly scheduled for the same day at Manhattan's Plaza Hotel, turn bride-to-be against bride-to-be. Half the comedies made in Hollywood are based on the premise of boy-men acting like idiots. Switching the gender and toning down the vulgarity to a PG level offers only change, not improvement. Hathaway in particular deserves better material.
Based on a book by Bishop T.D. Jakes, this film is a faith-based love story, secondarily about God's role in the care and feeding of an L.A. couple's turbulent marriage. Thanks to Morris Chestnut, whose warm, easy screen presence was an asset way back in "Boyz N the Hood," and to Taraji P. Henson, a by-the-book scenario (described by screenwriter Brian Bird as "sort of a male version of the film 'Waiting to Exhale'") ends up being pretty entertaining.
However sterling the craftsmanship, the film adaptation of Richard Yates' 1961 novel -- an excoriating portrait of a
mid-1950s marriage built on sticks, straw and delusion -- inflates the meaning and buffs the atmospheric surfaces of
the story, rather than digging into its guts.
But when stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet unleash their
character's demons, "Revolutionary Road" loses its tight, controlled sense of composition and air of solemnity
and, in human terms, matters.
The misadventures of a lovable Labrador retriever frame this sweet, surprisingly moving chronicle of a young couples
struggle to simultaneously build a family, advance their careers and maintain their sanity. Owen Wilson plays journalist
John Grogan, whose popular 2005 memoir spawned this film, and Jennifer Aniston plays Jenny, his wife. Dog lovers will
laugh delightedly for the first hour and spend the second hour weeping openly.
This is a tall tale of a man aging in reverse while bobbing serenely on lifes unpredictable seas. The colorful supporting
characters spill their guts to the wonder of nature played by Brad Pitt, as he begins his life a very old man, ages into
late-middle age, ripens into well, Brad Pitt, then embarks on the big fade into childhood, infancy and check-out time.
This film spends 105 minutes grappling at the edge of camp, cheap laughs and cliches. Yet the way it is handled by
director Darren Aronofsky and especially by Mickey Rourke, who really should get an Oscar for his portrayal of Randy The Ram
Robinson, a steroid-addled sweetie in tights, it stays honest and keeps on fighting.
Valkyrie, a plot to assassinate Hitler, stars Tom Cruise as Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, a cultured aesthete who turned
against his supreme commander. Cruise is not bad, but he cannot suggest the aristocratic hauteur or the steely authority
needed in this role. Going into this film, you know how things are going to come out. Still, with actors as good as Tom
Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Thomas Kretschmann and Kenneth Branagh in key supporting roles, this ensemble piece avoids the
usual action-movie triumphalism.
Adam Sandler plays Skeeter, a hotel handyman under the thumb of the owner (Richard Griffiths) and manager (Guy Pearce). Skeeter and his sister (Courteney Cox) grew up in a motel bungalow court, and Skeeter longs for a crack at running the hotel that's built on the site. While Sis is away, Skeeter must baby-sit for his niece and nephew, and the adventure stories he spins become fantasy vignettes that somehow manage to improve his disappointing life. It's an adequate idea, dutifully delivered.
Kate Winslet stars in the film version of the Bernhard Schlink novel about a 15-year-old West German boy who, in 1958,
embarks on an affair with a 36-year-old trolley conductor with more on her mind, and in her past, than she admits.
The novel was hugely popular as well as controversial worldwide
Jim Carrey plays a loan officer who cannot get out of his self-pitying rut three years after a breakup. Then he encounters a self-help guru (Terence Stamp, in his first genuinely funny screen appearance) who challenges
his followers to say yes to every single thing that comes their way.
Clint Eastwood performance as a reclusive Korean War veteran toughing it out in a sketchy Detroit-area neighborhood may well lead to his first Academy Award for acting. After the vets young neighbor (Bee Vang) breaks into his garage to steal the car for which this film is named, our hero sets out to teach the boy how to stand up to his venal gangsta cousins.
Will Smith plays an IRS agent who has committed a terrible deed and appears to be investigating the cases of a carefully selected group of people, including a seriously ill heart patient (Rosario Dawson) and a blind pianist (Woody Harrelson).
This earnest, emotional film is a mixed but pretty interesting bag, though its G rating may mislead some parents into taking 4 or 5 year-olds to it, which could lead to some freakouts. Much of the movie, based on a Newbery Medal-winning book, has a grim narrative.
Bedtime Stories starring Adam SandlerMovie Review | Michael Phillips Reviews Bedtime Stories Bedtime Stories Movie Review & Movie Trailer
Bedtime Stories stars Adam Sandler.
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