Directed by Rick Bentley Adam Shankman
Starring Adam Sandler, Keri Russell, Courtney Cox, Lucy Lawless, Guy Pearce
Reviewed by Rick Bentley, McClatchy
Opens Taiwan: Today
Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.
If you look closely at "Bedtime Stories" it is almost possible to see how the cast and crew were making up the movie as it went along. There's certainly no evidence of a script. It's just a series of nonsensical events that at times are anchored by reality and at other times are pure fantasy.
No one would notice this lack of direction if the movie at least were funny.
Adam Sandler plays the latest in his long line of lovable losers. This one is Skeeter Bronson, a hotel handyman who longs for the day he will be in charge. We know he is supposed to be in charge by the narration supplied by Jonathan Pryce, which sounds like a pale rip-off of the television series "Pushing Daisies."
Bronson discovers, when he must watch his niece and nephew for a week, that elements of his made-up bedtime stories come true the next day. He decides to use this gift to get the job he has wanted for many years.
This is where "Bedtimes Stories" loses focus. At times, the events that come to life from the bedtime tales are based in reality. It takes some clever writing to do this, such as a scene in which gumballs rain down from the heavens.
But at other times, make-believe becomes real with no logical explanation. A group of women just start dancing "The Hokey Pokey." There's no payoff to the scene.
Director Adam Shankman should stick to musicals like "Hairspray." That format allows him to take the action over the top without looking stupid. He should either have made "Bedtime Stories" an outright fantasy or stayed with reality.
Shankman didn't make this mess on his own. Sandler goes over the line this time trying to find a place in the film for his buddy Rob Schneider, whose portrayal of a Native American is the most offensive since "F Troop" was on the air in the 1960s.
Courtney Cox must have lost a bet. She plays a mix of every school-principal stereotype as if they were all Monica Geller on "Friends." The role is a waste of her skills.
The same goes for Keri Russell. The talented actress is reduced to standing around watching while Sandler mugs with a Guinea pig that has eyes the size of a Frisbee. Why are its eyes so big? No one says. It's just a lame attempt to get a laugh.
Sandler has a strong following, but even his fans must have limits. This film could well be the breaking point. (Of course, "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" should have been the end.)
Once "Bedtime Stories" hits DVD it can live up to its name. It will certainly put you to sleep.