Monday, December 29, 2008

'Bedtime Stories' snores

Perhaps the biggest bonus for “Bedtime Stories” is that is a PG movie geared toward families. I think that was the idea for the movie—considering its holiday release. However, that’s where the kudos essentially stop for this latest film from Adam Sandler.

“Bedtime Stories” stars Sandler as Skeeter a hotel maintenance man who is still a kid at heart. Kerri Russell is a school teacher and Courtney Cox as Skeeter’s sister and the single mother of three.

The basic plot reads as follows: Skeeter has to take care of his niece and nephew while his sister interviews for a job in Arizona. At night he reads them stories that come to life the next morning. The subplot is that the hotel he works for is run by an evil guy (Guy Pearce) with a cast of characters (Lucy Lawless) who are out to get Skeeter. Somewhere along the way, I’m sure there’s a moral to the story but it’s lost in the bad acting, bad writing, and bad directing.


The movie is, to put it bluntly, not funny. There wasn’t a moment when I actually laughed more than a minor chuckle. Lined up with solid talent with Lucy Lawless (“Xena”, “Battlestar Galactica”) and Guy Pearce (“Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert”), you’d think the movie would be a laugh a minute. Somewhere the laughter got lost in translation from page to screen. It could have been the actors too. Lawless and Pierce weren’t nearly as funny as they could have been if they had the right material to deliver on screen.

It was hard to stay focused when watching the film. I like Sandler as an actor. His early movies are some of this best work. “Happy Gilmore” was a work of genius and “Waterboy” was one of those inspirational stories hidden inside of comedy film.

After his performance in “Punch Drunk Love” it’s hard to stomach “Bedtime Stories.”
Perhaps my type of comedy is weird sort. I don’t like modern comedies, but I like the crazy comedies from the 60s, 70s, and 80s with some 90s and 2000s stuff thrown into the mix. But “Bedtime Stories” tries hard to be a comedy story for the family.

Gone are the days of when Walt Disney had his hand in all the productions. It is apparent that Disney continues to struggle with live action without Uncle Walt’s guiding hand. “Bedtime” definitely could have benefitted from child-like guidance. He knew what audiences wanted and more importantly he knew how to make a kid comedy appealing to the kid in adults as well. The main was a genius when it came to filmmaking.

I take what I said in the beginning back—the biggest bonus is that I got see this movie free. I would have been mad if my hard-earned $5 went to waste on this movie.

I’m sure the Lawless fans will eat this up as a work of genius.

And I’m sure I’ll catch flack for the following: The woman could read the New York City phone directory and mispronounce all the names and her fans would still give her a solid performance. I on the other hand, found her completely unfunny and her crawling around on all fours made me want to hurl in the over-buttered, over-salted popcorn bag! But I think that was more of how bad the story was… I don’t know. I’m just glad that even the luke-warm “Valkyrie” softened the blow of the bad movie experience of Christmas 2008.

“Bedtime Stories” is a solid D.

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