While no one was expecting the live-wire daring of Punch-Drunk Love or even You Dont Mess With the Zohan, the Adam Sandler who shows up in Bedtime Stories is that most unnecessary of movie-star guises: the benign family-comedy guy. Playing his usual underdog role, Sandler is Skeeter, a lowly Los Angeles handyman recruited by his sister (Courteney Cox) to babysit her two children (Jonathan Morgan Heit and Laura Ann Kesling) while shes out of town. In the hopes of bonding with the youngsters, he entertains them with made-up bedtime stories, but once events in the stories start happening in real life, he realizes that the kids narrative input has some sort of magical effect. Directed by Adam Shankman (The Pacifier) in his traditional bright-shiny-silly way, Bedtime Stories is too typical of what passes for live-action family filmmaking these days, throwing together saccharine sentiments, mindless comedic action, and scenes of unusually affluent family life in the hopes of crafting a gleaming entertainment thats always in motion and wont offend anyone. (But, on that note, is Guy Pearces evil hotel manager supposed to be gay or just, yknow, exceptionally prissy?) Because Bedtime Stories has Sandler in it, a little loopiness still creeps in around the edgesthe best bit has to do with a characters odd cell phone ringbut the twitchy anxiety that once powered his persona has given way to a doughy anonymity. Parental advisory: There is a Rob Schneider cameo.
Adam ShankmanAdam Sandler, Keri Russell, Guy Pearce, Russell Brand, Richard Griffiths, Jonathan Pryce, Courteney Cox, Lucy Lawless, Teresa Palmer, Aisha TylerMatt LopezAndrew Gunn, Adam Sandler, Jack GiarraputoWalt Disney Pictures