"Dreams and Nightmares"

Content: -1 Discretion advised for older children.

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What You Need To Know:

BEDTIME STORIES is an adventure comedy starring Adam Sandler. Sandler plays Skeeter Bronson, who’s been reduced to being the handyman at his father’s old hotel. The new owner promised Skeeter he could run the hotel if he worked hard but instead decides to turn it over to Skeeter’s rival. Skeeter’s sister Wendy asks him to collaborate with her friend, Jill, and take care of her two children while Wendy goes out of town to find a job. Skeeter’s life is changed forever when the bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew start to mysteriously come true. When he tries to help his family by telling one outlandish tale after another, it’s the children’s unexpected contributions that turn everyone’s life upside down.

Sometimes, BEDTIME STORIES is funny, especially when it mocks political correctness. Often, it is contrived and over the top. The stakes are not high enough, so the plot gets lost about halfway through the movie. Much of the movie is preoccupied with curvaceous women in low-cut dresses and swimsuits, as well as gross humor, some foul language and some sexual innuendo. Some of the routines are truly annoying.


(Pa, B, AC, LL, V, S, A, MM) Light mixed pagan worldview with bedtime stories magically coming true with messages of resentment and revenge and some positive references to heroism, plus jokes making fun of Communists; six light obscenities and eight light profanities such as Oh God and My God as well as some jokes about passing gas and sexual innuendo; light slapstick violence including pratfalls, a dwarf kicks man in shin, man stops man from choking to death on beach by kicking him, arena Star Wars type battles with light action violence; some passionate kissing, cross-dressing jokes, six-year-old boy urged to kiss older girl, and sexual innuendo such as in a hot tub scene; lots and lots of female cleavage; drinking; no smoking or drugs; and, revenge, some politically incorrect jokes such as bashing vegetarians, making fun of Communists, and making fun of American Indians.

More Detail:

BEDTIME STORIES is reminiscent of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, but without a cohesive plot, jeopardy, danger, or something important at stake. It is Adam Sandler’s attempt to do a Sandler movie for families that doesn’t quite work.

The movie opens at a Hollywood bungalow hotel in the 70s. Marty Bronson runs the hotel for the benefit of his two children, Skeeter and Wendy. Bronson is not a good businessman and the hotel is in red ink, so he sells the hotel to an English fop named Barry Nottingham. Nottingham promises to make Skeeter the manager when he grows up, if Skeeter works hard.

Years later, Skeeter, played by Adam Sandler, is the janitor and handyman at Nottingham Hotel, which has replaced the bungalows. Nottingham has decided to build a new hotel and turn it over to Kendall, who is the main squeeze of Nottingham’s daughter. Skeeter is devastated. Everyone thinks he’s loser.

Skeeter’s sister Wendy asks him to look after her two children, because she’s just been laid off as principal of her school, which has been shut down, and has to go out of town on a job interview. Unknown to anyone, Nottingham has bribed the city officials to shut down the school so he can build a big hotel.

Skeeter is uncomfortable with Wendy’s children and with their other caretaker, Jill, who watches the children during Skeeter’s shift at the hotel. To keep them occupied, Skeeter tells them bedtime stories. The next day, the stories start to come true. Skeeter thinks he can speak stories into reality, but he soon finds out that the children control the stories. The joke’s on him, because every time he develops an ending that helps him, they change the ending in a way that hurts him, usually in comical ways.

In this complex plot structure, Skeeter convinces Nottingham that Kendall’s idea for the hotel is old fashioned. Nottingham gives Skeeter a chance to come up with his own ideas and possibly become hotel manager. Skeeter and Kendall vie for the attentions of Nottingham’s attractive, but spoiled daughter, Violet, who looks like Paris Hilton, but Skeeter is better suited to Jill, who is beautiful both inside and out.

Fantastic things happen as the bedtime stories are mirrored in the reality. In one story, Skeeter sees himself getting Nottingham’s daughter, whom he calls Princess Fashionista. Just as they’re about to kiss, however, the children imagine that a dwarf kicks Skeeter’s character, and the same thing happens in real life.

Sometimes, BEDTIME STORIES is funny, especially when it mocks political correctness and slams Communism. Often, however, it is contrived and over the top. Much of the movie is preoccupied with curvaceous women in low-cut dresses, swimsuits and practically nothing at all, as well as scatological humor such as wedgies or passing gas, with some sexual innuendo. Some of the routines are truly annoying and offensive.

Since there is no real jeopardy and nothing at stake to propel the story, the plot gets lost about halfway through the movie. From that point, it gets a bit dull and tedious. As far as children are concerned, there are some disgusting moments that the producers must have thought children would appreciate. There are also some deus ex machina story devices to get over the plot problems. The ending is fantastically illogical. This is the type of movie that wants to do the right thing, but can’t seem to do it.

Adam Sandler said he wanted to make a movie for his young children, but it seems as if Sandler didn’t understand that children want good stories first and foremost. He throws everything he can at the screen, often in a very shrill voice. Some of it sticks and some of it fails.