Sunday, April 28, 2013

Movie Review: Bedtime Stories

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Imaginative story that's loads of fun.
Cons: One sub-plot never paid off.
The Bottom Line:
And a youthful spirit are
Keys to this movie

"This Is a Bedtime Story.  Anything Can Happen."

There are some actors whose movies I avoid, not because I don't like them, but because the previews drive me up a wall.  Adam Sandler is one of them, so the first time I saw an ad for Bedtime Stories, I figured if I lay down, the desire to see the movie would pass.  But something funny happened.  The more I saw the ads, the more I wanted to see it.  Turns out, that was a wise decision.

Skeeter Bronson (Adam Sandler) is the maintenance man at a luxury hotel in Los Angeles.  True, when his father sold the location to hotel mogul Barry Nottingham (Richard Giffiths), Barry promised to make Skeeter the manager when he grew up.  But that's never happened.  And now Barry has plans to build an even bigger hotel in the area and make Kendall (Guy Pearce) the manager.

Meanwhile, Skeeter's sister calls.  Wendy (Courtney Cox) needs Skeeter to watch her two kids while she is out of town looking for a new job.  Skeeter hasn't had any contact with them for four years, but he agrees.

That night, he tells the kids a bedtime story that gets pretty crazy.  And yet the next day, it seems to come true.  Excited, Skeeter can't wait for the next bedtime story.  Has he figured out a way to make his every wish come true or is something else at work here?

I think the premise intrigued me the most.  Well that and some of the wilder things from the previews.

For once, the previews didn't give away too much or the best laughs.  In fact, some of the best laughs are saved for the movie.  While Bugsy, the hamster with the freakishly large eyes is a known quantity, his antics, which provide some of the best laughs, aren't spoiled.  Likewise, several of the more outlandish scenes are saved for the movie.  That allowed me to genuinely laugh in delight several times at just how crazy things had gotten.

Yet underneath the laughs is a decent story.  True, I predicted most of the big plot points well in advance.  But the journey there was fun.  And there were several nice surprises along the way, mostly thanks to the random plot twists that the kids added to the story.

The stories involve a variety of locations, none of which I am going to give away.  And yet they all look amazing.  It's hard to believe that much detail was put into those sets when they are only used for a few minutes.

This isn't a heavy special effects or stunt movie, but there are occasions for both.  And both come out looking great.

And the acting compliments the movie.  Yes Adam Sandler is a little goofy, but it fits the character.  The cast I've named is all great.  Keri Russell plays the female lead/potential love interest.  I haven't seen her in too many things, but she really made the sweet character come to life here.  Teresa Palmer has a fun part as Violet Nottingham, a bit of a Paris Hilton spoof.  Russell Brand is hilarious as Skeeter's best friend and co-worker.  And Lucy Lawless fans will want to watch out for her as a nasty hotel employee.

There is one small thing that keeps the movie from being perfect.  There's one plot line that is never paid off.  I won't say it was dropped, but the climax I was expecting never came.  Maybe it will show up in deleted scenes on the DVD release, but I was momentarily disappointed.

But momentarily was all.  On the whole, Bedtime Stories is a fun film that will entertain kids of all ages.

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