Bedtime Stories Review
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As I sat through this year’s Christmas releases, I kept waiting for that perfect Christmas movie—something light and fun (and maybe even silly) that would help audiences relax and unwind after a busy month of shopping and socializing. Instead, I got Nazis and death and serious dramas. Mind you, a couple of those serious dramas are really good serious dramas—but they’re still serious. And they’re still dramas. They’re just not fun. But, fortunately, Adam Sandler’s new modern-day fairy tale, Bedtime Stories, is.

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Skeeter, who lived a happy, carefree life with his dad and his big sister in a little motel called the Sunny Vista. Unfortunately, the fun came to an end when his dad sold the motel to Barry Nottingham (Richard Griffiths)—who kindly promised to let little Skeeter manage the place when he grew up.

But things haven’t gone as planned. Now, grown-up Skeeter (Sandler) is a lowly janitor at the Sunny Vista Nottingham—and the job he was promised is about to go to Nottingham’s socialite daughter’s boyfriend, Kendall (Guy Pearce).

Things aren’t any better for Skeeter’s sister, Wendy (Courteney Cox), who’s about to lose her job. So she asks Skeeter to watch her kids for a few days while she hunts for jobs in Arizona.

Not sure what to do with a couple of kids who don’t own a TV, Skeeter decides to tell them bedtime stories—just like his dad did. The kids love his fanciful stories—and they quickly join in the fun. And, suddenly, Skeeter’s luck starts to change—and their stories start to come true.

The story may not be particularly moving (or even flawless), and the acting may not garner any awards, but Bedtime Stories is a fun little fairy tale that the whole family can enjoy.

The main plot is pretty standard—and there’s a sketchy subplot involving the kids’ school. But the stories within the story—the bedtime stories that Skeeter and the kids tell each night—turn the same old kids’ comedy into a fun family adventure. The characters find themselves in the Old West, ancient Greece, Medieval times, and even outer space in these silly but wildly imaginative little tales. And once they start telling stories, you never know what will happen next. It might even start raining gumballs.

Though Sandler’s lowbrow slacker comedy was once just for grown-ups, the father of two works just as well (if not better) in family movies. After all, he loves being silly. He loves making funny faces and speaking gibberish, and he has no qualms about looking goofy. If he has to share the spotlight with a guinea pig with ginormous eyes, that’s cool, too. And that’s the stuff that will have kids rolling in the aisles.

Though it won’t win any Oscars—nor is it destined to become a new Disney classic—Bedtime Stories is just what most of us need at the close of another busy holiday season: a fun family fairy tale with lots of laughs and a happily-ever-after ending.

Blu-ray / DVD Review:
As with many of Disney’s recent Blu-ray releases, Adam Sandler’s Bedtime Stories comes in an ingenious three-disc set, which includes both a digital copy of the film and the DVD version—in addition to the main Blu-ray disc.

The special features menu includes 12 deleted scenes (the best of which feature Kathryn Joosten as crazy Mrs. Dixon), along with an outtake reel, which shows the various hazards of working with kids, animals, and Adam Sandler. Also included are three short behind-the-scenes featurettes. Until Gravity Do Us Part shows the stunt work, choreography, and special effects that went into making Sandler and Pearce’s big zero-gravity outer-space fight. To All the Little People is a cute feature about the adorable child actors and their interaction with the rest of the cast. And It’s Bugsy focuses on the antics of the film’s four-legged star.

Though the release isn’t packed with features and games and fancy pop-up commentaries, these short but entertaining extras are perfect for viewers of all ages. They’ll make you laugh, and, at the same time, they’ll even teach you a bit about what goes into making a movie. So, once you’ve finished watching Bedtime Stories, be sure to stick around and watch the features, too.

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