Rated PG for some mild rude humor and mild language, 95 minutes
"Bedtime Stories:" Sandler by Disney is still not that funny
I know that in any given year, if Adam Sandler or Dane Cook make a movie, there'll be at least a couple of movies that I dislike that year. At least Sandler has a some talent as a comedian, though it doesn't mean his movies are that great. Generally, his movies offer pretty much the same - Sandler playing a variation of some loser, uh, I mean underachiever, striving for better times.
"Bedtime Stories" offers the same type of Sandler, except this time it's made by Walt Disney and offers more splashy special effects geared toward families. "Bedtime Stories" is still a lame, unfunny Sandler movie, with a largely unoriginal story with a few splashy special effects and some humor that's slightly less offensive.
Sandler is Skeeter Bronson, a handyman at a fancy hotel started by his father. It's now run by a snotty old British guy named Nottingham (Richard Griffiths), a weird germaphobe with a Paris Hilton-like daughter (Teresa Palmer). Nottingham is starting a new hotel and wants to promote the equally snotty Kendall (Guy Pearce, slumming it here), though in fact Skeeter has some good ideas. In the meantime, Skeeter has to keep his niece and nephew while their single mom (Courtney Cox) is off interviewing for a job. Skeeter makes up some wild stories like his dad used to, except they have a weird way of coming to life.
"Bedtime Stories" has some fun, colorful moments, but otherwise rips off "Night at the Museum" (the trailers for the sequel to that film are shown during this film) by having things come to life. Adam Shankman, who directed the fun musical "Hairspray," directs with less vibrancy here and is somehow able to largely waste a talented cast, especially the talented Pearce, along with Cox and Keri Russell in small roles. Comedian Russell Brand has a few good quips as a sleep challenged waiter, though "Bedtime" is really stolen by a guinea pig named Bugsy with excessively large eyes.
Given that it's Disney, "Bedtime" waters down Sandler a bit, though don't think you'll get through this film without the obligatory Rob Schneider cameo. Some bits are OK (one with a dwarf is mildly funny) though others are just plain weird (no matter what it seemed like on paper, a dark red horse named Ferrari just looks silly and odd). The hotel backstory is lame and predictable from the first frame, so there are no surprises down to its downright silly climax and finish.
"Bedtime Stories" will likely be another big hit for Sandler, who seemingly makes movies with no regard for critics (his most recent "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" was on my worst list for this year). Admittedly, I give Sandler a hard time, after all he can be a talented comedian when he wants to be, but also lazy and often unoriginal, which is how I could describe "Bedtime Stories."