DVD Review: Bedtime Stories
Release Date: April 7, 2009
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
· Adam Shankman
· Adam Sandler
· Keri Russell
· Jonathan Morgan Heit
· Laura Ann Kesling
· Russell Brand
· IMDb: Bedtime Stories
by R.J. Carter
Published: April 6, 2009
On its face, "Bedtime Stories" is like a fairytale, a story in which a victim of injustice prevails and snotty little bad guys get their ultimate comeuppance. Of course, fairytales make more sense as they must conform to their own inner logic, whereas "Bedtime Stories" is content to just happen without providing any explanation as for the whys and wherefores.
Skeeter Bronson (Adam Sandler) grew up working for his father's small hotel, so he knows the business inside and out. But when the hotel is bought out and replaced by magnate Barry Nottingham (Richard Griffiths), Skeeter becomes a lowly maintenance man, with the promise to Skeeter's father (the deceased narrator, a la Desperate Housewives, voiced by Jonathan Pryce) being that at some point in the future, if Skeeter shows he's smart enough, he'll get to run the place again.
With his life made difficult by the hotel management (Guy Pearce and Lucy Lawless), Skeeter is in no position to take on the nighttime duties of watching children. But when his sister Wendy (Courtney Cox) must go out of state to find a job because the school she teaches at is being closed, Skeeter manages as best he can, quickly discovering that the bedtime stories he tells them each night have a strange way of repeating themselves in his real life the next day.
But there's a catch: the only parts that come true are the parts added by the children themselves. Is this because they're magical sprites? Do they have ESP? Do they attend Hogwarts during the summer months? Or does it have more to do with their bug-eyed guinea pig, Bugsy, who's a bit smarter than your average guinea pig has a right to be? We'll never know, because the source of the magic is never important enough for the writers to be bothered with.
There's an obvious romantic interest that comes into play at the last minute with Wendy's friend, Jill (Keri Russell), who watches the kids during the day (when they're at school, where Jill also teaches, so there's a really big sacrifice on her part, isn't there?) So while Skeeter sets his heart on the wealthy Nottingham heiress, Violet (Teresa Palmer), and Jill obviously is disgusted by Skeeter's handling of the children, you just know they're going to end up together.
If there's a bright spot at all in this film that somehow finds a place between "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" and "Jumanji," it's the performances from Jonathan Morgan Heit and Laura Ann Kesling who portray Skeeter's niece and nephew. They play the role of imaginative kids with believability, perhaps because the role isn't that far removed from what they are in reality.
Bonus features on this release include "Until Gravity Do Us Part," a four-minute look at the special effects used in making the outer space fantasy scene. Following that is the five-minute "To All the Little People" which finds Sandler and the adult actors talking about the child stars, and then the four-minute "It's Bugsy" which focuses on Stitches and Thimbles, the two guinea pigs who portrayed Bugsy in the film (with, obviously, a little bit of CGI enhancement).
The disc also includes a gag reel, a collection of twelve deleted scenes, and a lengthy advertisement by Dylan Sprouse and Cole Sprouse shilling for the Disney Blu-ray experience.
Previews on this disc include "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "G-Force," "Monsters, Inc," "Morning Light," "Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure," and "Princess Protection Program."