Gumballs and guinea pigs…
Skeeter Bronson (Adam Sandler) is a handyman in the hotel his father used to own, resigned to the fact that a promise made by new owner Barry Nottingham (Richard Griffiths) that Skeeter would become manager has been long forgotten. When Skeeter is put in charge of his young niece and nephew for one week, he discovers a knack for telling exciting bedtime stories and, realizing that the tall tales are coming true, hopes that his new talent will help him win the hotel from smarmy manager Kendall (Guy Pearce).
It’s fair to say that Sandler’s brand of comedy can divide audiences, but here he tones down the juvenility to play a likeable everyman who’s both charming and entertaining. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s surrounded by an exceptional supporting cast, including our very own Russell Brand in yet another scene-stealing role as Skeeter’s quirky best friend. It’s clear, too, that Pearce is in his element, indulging the pantomime villain tendencies of Kendall with moustache-twirling glee. Thankfully, the obligatory Rob Schneider cameo is kept to a merciful minimum.
Director Adam Shankman straddles the divide between rollicking fantasy adventure and down to earth romantic comedy well, nailing both elements with some clever explanations for all of the bizarre things happening to Skeeter as his stories begin to leak into the real world. Bedtime Stories is undoubtedly one for the kids but, with its bright and breezy tone and old-fashioned, inoffensive charm, it may well win over a few of their parents too. 3 stars
The film’s scene-stealing guinea pig Bugsy features in two of the bonus features, the bedtime story Bugsy Eyes and his own featurette, It’s Bugsy. There are also featurettes on the impressive zero-gravity fight sequence and the child actors, plus deleted scenes, outtakes and bloopers. 3 stars
It’s also worth noting that the Blu-ray release also contains Bedtime Stories on DVD, allowing those without Blu-ray players to future proof their collections. Genius!
Stars Adam Sandler, Guy Pearce
Director Adam Shankman
Distributor Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Released April 27th