Funny man Adam Sandler, known for his crass, college boy humor in movies such as Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, as well as his surprising turn as a bona fide dramatic actor in films like Punch-Drunk Love and Spanglish, tries his hand at a new genre: kid’s flicks. His latest project is Bedtime Stories, a heartwarming comedy aimed at families. The film is his first time to work with family entertainment empire Walt Disney Pictures.
Bedtime Stories, directed by Bringing down the House director Adam Shankman, does feature Sandler as an underachiever (a handyman for a fancy, super-sanitized hotel in Hollywood), a facet which comprises most of his past roles, but this time with a magical twist. When his character’s sister, played by Friends star Courtney Cox, loses her school principal job, she gets Sandler and her friend, played by Felicity sweetheart Keri Russell, to take care of her two kids, played by Laura Ann Kesling and Jonathan Morgan Heit. Sandler finds out that his only child-rearing skills lie in telling bedtime stories, so he sticks to this night after night. The kids have even taken to contributing to the stories, too.
Strangely enough, the stories start coming true, with Sandler experiencing parts of his bedtime stories in his real life. Naturally, hilarity ensues. Matt Lopez and Tim Herlihy’s screenplay is a great medium for Sandler’s comic genius, giving him a situation that allows for plenty of wacky characters and even wackier situations. As with any family film, the presence of a trained guinea pig also makes everything even lighter and funnier.
Besides Sandler, Cox and Russell, British actor Russell Brand also adds extra comic relief to the film, playing a hotel waiter and Sandler’s best bud. Seemingly miscast actors, however, include Guy Pearce as the hotel manager and Xena: Warrior Princess’s Lucy Lawless as Pearce’s sidekick.
At the end of the day, Bedtime Stories truly lives up to its name: a film full of imagination and crazy, impossible situations. Sandler’s talent, however, is as real as it gets. It seems that this man can take any genre and make it his own.