a long time I have been trying to figure out exactly why Adam Sandler movies
are so unsatisfying to me – beyond the obvious handicaps that he can’t act
and he’s not really funny.
think the problem is probably so obvious that it was staring me in the face
all of the time. Adam Sandler films are a celebration of being an asshole.
Be a complete jerk to everyone you meet and you too can find love and the
job of your dreams. It’s okay to be a smug, sanctimonious creep – as long
as you are the hero.
Take, for example, a throw-away scene early in Bedtime Story. This
is actually supposed to be the “meet cute” moment where Sandler’s character
of Skeeter meets the saintly teacher character who will eventually fall for
his galootish charms. He is in his truck and she points out the fact that
he has taken up two parking spots, therefore making her walk an extra block
after parking her car. Instead of apologizing – because, yes, that was a
very rude thing to do – Skeeter berates her, essentially calling her an
Anything is okay in Adam Sandler-world as long as it works out for him.
Anyone else’s wants or needs really don’t matter.
That’s a wonderful thing to be teaching in a children’s film.
Another important life lesson from Uncle Adam is that if you save a damsel
in distress you should expect to be compensated with $100,000,000 or a brand
new cherry red Ferrari (“forrrr FRRREEEEEEEEEE!” as Sandler idiotically
squeals a few times during the movie).
actually a shame, because while I wouldn’t really want Adam Sandler
babysitting my children, Bedtime Stories actually came up with a
rather clever children’s film premise that it then mostly squandered.
Sandler plays Skeeter, a janitor at a huge hotel in Los Angeles. His sister
has to go for a job interview out of state, so she asks him to watch her
children when she is gone. Uncle Skeeter starts telling them bedtime
stories, only to find the stories are coming true.
film never really bothers to explain why this is happening – there is some
vague suggestion it has something to do with his father and imagination, but
it really isn’t hashed out.
too much here is hashed out. The bedtime stories are kind of cute, but
rather muddled. They can’t seem to decide what the lessons they want to
teach the kids are, so despite the fact that Skeeter wins over the hot
teacher, gets a cool new job and learns to love his niece and nephew (and
their strange popeyed guinea pig… the weird eyes are just another thing not
explained here), he still shows himself to be just as big an ass in the end
as he did earlier.
Sandler has a history of hiring actors who are way too good to be in his
films and Bedtime Stories continues this streak. Keri Russell
follows up her wonderful comeback role in the charming Waitress with
the generic love interest character. Guy Pearce (LA Confidential,
Memento) literally looks embarrassed to be saddled with playing an
amazingly broad and bland bad guy. Russell Brand is given nearly nothing to
do… a real shame after his scene-stealing turn as a rock star in
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
and still he upstages his clueless star every time they share a scene. The film is narrated by classy British
thespian Jonathan Pryce. Even former-Friends star Courteney Cox (who
is apparently no longer going by Courteney Cox Arquette) shows up as
Sandler’s uptight sister – then again Cox already got slimed by Sandler in
The Longest Yard.
because Bedtime Stories is aiming at a less demanding audience – kids
– that doesn’t excuse it from putting together a story that makes sense and
has likable characters. Bedtime Stories may even entertain small
children… there is action, junk food and the guinea pig farts s’mores…, but
that doesn’t mean it’s good for them.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: March 28, 2009.