Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
|Featuring:||Adam Sandler, Keri Russell, Guy Pearce, Courteney Cox, Teresa Palmer, Russell Brand, Jonathan Pryce, Lucy Lawless, Aisha Tyler, Dana Goodman, Richard Griffiths, Kathryn Joosten, Julia Lea Wolov, Debbie Lee Carrington, Jasmine Dustin, Mikey Post, Veronica Bennett, Annalise Basso, Bob Ross, Brian Peck, Abigail Droeger, Jonathan Morgan Heit, Richard Schimmelpfenneg, Lulu, Nicole Sciacca, Laura Ann Kesling, Jayme Lynn Evans, Catherine Kwong, Franklin Ruehl, Myra Cheney, Matt Jordon, Johntae Lipscomb, Danni Katz, Ricky Marciano|
“A Walk to Remember,” “Hairspray,” “The Wedding Planner”
|Producer:||Gunn Films, Happy Madison Productions, Offspring Entertainment, Walt Disney Pictures, Jack Giarraputo, Jennifer Gibgot, Garrett Grant, Andrew Gunn, Adam Sandler|
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
“What if the stories you told came to life?”
I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive going into this movie, although it is a Disney film and I enjoy Adam Sandler. Sandler always delivers the laughs, but his films usually start out with some pretty over the top humor and offensive site gags, yet end up on a pleasant note. It was the off color humor I was worried I would be subjected to.
I am very happy to say it was a sweet, funny (in a kid’s potty humor sort of way), exciting, magical fun ride all the way through! A perfect, holiday family movie and I, as a Christian Mom, would take my family to see it without worry as to whether I need to cover my kid’s eyes and ears during certain scenes. A PG rated Sandler film which is a joy to watch.
As the title refers, “Bedtime Stories” is just that. A set of bedtime stories spun by a wayward handyman employed at a major Hotel chain, who over the course of a week has to babysit his sister’s two children while she looks for work out of town. During that week some pretty unexplainable things happen as each bedtime story transforms from nightly fairy tale into daily real life events.
Sounds pretty much predictable, and because it is a Disney family film, on a certain level it is. But Skeeter Bronson (a delightful character crafted by Adam Sandler) wins your heart from his first joke to the last kiss.
“Bedtime Stories” is such fun that I won’t spoil the review by recapping every bedtime tale Skeeter spins with the details. I say, just take the family and prepare yourselves for belly laughs, the mirth surrounding a hamster named Bugsie who is the running site gag throughout the film, and bask in the wonder factor which Disney always provides with one hundred per cent perfection.
There are some familiar faces here: Keri Russell as Jill, the level headed love interest which contrasts affectionately against Skeeter’s off the wall attitude. Guy Pearce as Kendall, the baboonish yet endearing bad guy after the big prize of running a mega hotel chain. That mega enterprise is headed by Richard Griffiths as Mr. Nottingham, a Howard Hughs type of Hotel tycoon who has a phobia about germs. Courtney Cox plays Skeeter’s older sister, Wendy, who has just lost her job as school principal and must go to Arizona for a week to search for a new job. Jonathan Pryce is cast perfectly as Skeeter’s Dad and narrator of the film.
These are the major players, but I must mention the performances by the children in this movie is what captured my heart. Laura Ann Kesling as Bobbi, Skeeter’s niece, is adorable. Jonathan Morgan Holt as her brother Patrick has that off beat speech pattern that every Mom finds endearing. These kids are fine little actors and the movie shines because of them. Russell Brand, who plays Mickey, Skeeter’s best friend, is a crack up. His humor is delivered with just the right nuance to capture the child that lives pent-up within every adult.
There are a few instances within the context of this film that may be objectionable depending on a family’s humor meter. There are scenes where passing wind is referred to. The character of Mr. Nottingham’s daughter, Violet (played as a Paris Hilton-esque paparazzi ducking beauty by Teresa Palmer) is subtlety referred to as a party-girl who gets around. A reference that will go over the heads of most kids, but older tweens and teens will get the reference. The character of Wendy is divorced and the kids ask a few times if their Daddy is ever coming back. Although not a big deal in the context of the film, some children may find this disturbing. One made up villain in Skeeter’s bedtime stories is named “Buttkiss” because he goes around “kissing everyone’s butt.” I felt that would be objectionable to parents, not just for the designation of the name, but because it says it’s okay to show disrespect by using that in particular offensive name. There are a couple of kisses that are brief and, of course the mild mannered Skeeter gets to kiss Jill in the end, which is done in a playful manner. To it’s credit, “Bedtime Stories” has not one cuss word in it’s script.
On the flip side, “Bedtime Stories” reaches deep into the biblical sense of “do unto others,” and loving and respecting your fellow man in a gentle, subtle heartwarming way, that shows renewed hope that films such as these can take off once again in Hollywood. The children were allowed to be children and not run around like little miniature adults cussing and being disrespectful of others. Skeeter was allowed to be a loving man and his wisdom was taken as fact and a gentle strength, not boo hoo’d as a weakness. The moral lessons of treating the one’s you love with kindness and compassion, giving much for a friend, sacrificial love, and doing what is right in a situation even though it might mean hurt on your part was a refreshing change in direction for children’s film. It not only shows these afore mentioned qualities in a positive tone, but also does a good job of showing the negative consequences when we act out of greed, selfishness and pride.
As true of a Disney film, the cliché “don’t stop believing” and that your fun is only limited to your imagination, was stamped all over it, but deeper still was the message that you CAN have a happy ending in life. I prefer to think that we must all take it a step further and put Jesus Christ back in our lives. He needs to be in the picture to make our lives complete. Children need to know, it might not be enough to be good to one another, and do the right thing, or even just to be a good person, but to have a clear roadmap in life which can only be found in the pages of Scripture. The guidance of God’s pristine Word, is the only path to true happiness and a fulfilling happily ever after.
Everyone in the theater was laughing and cheering throughout “Bedtime Stories.” This film got much deserved applause at it’s conclusion. I was delighted that “Bedtime Stories” was a good-natured, up-beat story with many important morals being put forth for kids. We are so in need of kid’s fare these days which highlight the good in people and the rewards of doing the right thing by our fellow man. Not to mention that as I was growing up, watching a Disney film ALWAYS meant we would be taught life lessons and morals to live by as adults. This concept is so lacking in our modern times and to see it held high, as well, as hear the giggles and cheers from the kids in the audience around me, gave me hope that God’s moral compass is alive and well within the context of Disney films still.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
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