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Movie Review

Bedtime Stories

Christopher Gildemeister

Release Date: 12/25/2008

MPAA Rating: PG : Description: for some mild rude humor and mild language

Skeeter Bronson is a bumbling handyman at the gigantic Nottingham hotel. When his divorced sister Wendy must go out of town, she leaves her young children Patrick and Bobbi with Skeeter. Tellling the children bedtime stories, Skeeter discovers that the elements the children add to the stories come true for him in real life. Manipulating the stories, Skeeter attempts to gain wealth, romance and a management position at the hotel for himself; but when he discovers the hotel’s plans to destroy the children’s school, it’s up to Skeeter to save the day.

Bedtime Stories offers an odd juxtaposition of typical Disney fantasy and imagination with Adam Sandler’s trademark brand of crude, politically incorrect humor. Despite the movie’s fairy-tale opening, the film focuses heavily Sandler’s character: though basically good-hearted, Skeeter is obnoxious and rude to all around him. When caring for his niece and nephew (whom he nicknames “Smelly” and “Stinky,”) his first suggestion of an activity appropriate for children is “toilet-papering your neighbor’s tree.”  Throughout the film Sandler makes rude remarks to co-workers, leers at women and threatens men with comic violence.

Additionally, Bedtime Stories features a hotel heiress character clearly modeled on Paris Hilton. This character constantly wears cleavage-baring outfits and engages in activities like playing “Truth or Dare” with the elementary-school aged Patrick. Patrick himself mentions that a little girl two grades older than he is “hot,” while Sandler’s character frequently references his desire for romantic action.  Violence is mostly confined to the fantasy “bedtime story” sequences, which feature Sandler’s character as a knight, a cowboy and a science-fiction hero, replete with sword- and gunfights and a sci-fi battle with a “booger monster.” There are also multiple flatulence gags and many slapstick scenes, like Sandler’s character being stung on the tongue by a bee, and spraying his boss with a fire extinguisher. Language contains many references to “kissing butt,” such as Sandler referring to his manager in a fantasy story as “Sir Butt-kiss."

While no single element of Bedtime Stories may be overly objectionable in itself, the combination of such elements together make this movie problematic. Parents are cautioned that the tone of the movie overall is very different from such recent Disney pictures as Beverly Hills Chihuahua or Bolt. The Parents Television Council does not recommend Bedtime Stories for viewers under age 10.