Bedtime Stories Directed by Adam Shankman Running Time: 95 min.
Imagination is Adam Sandlers response to bad times. As Bedtime Stories hotel employee Skeeter Bronson, Sandler helps his single-parent sister (Courteney Cox) during her new job search by babysitting his niece and nephew. He tells them bedtime stories that spur their own fantasies andmagicallycome true in his own life. This is an inspired metaphor for the way pop culture ought to work: It is handed-down by one generations, taken-up by the next, understood by all, and becomes a source of amazement and spiritual sustenance. Wall-E be damned!
With Bedtime Stories, Sandler continues his winning streak of appealing and humane comedies. Maybe it was seeing how P.T. Andersons Punch-Drunk Love (2002) went wrong (turning whimsy into dark paranoia) that convinced Sandler how movies ought to entertain. Since then, hes balanced emotion with humor, sweetness with bawdiness, and made an agreeable series of light but substantive films. Bedtime Stories bests the current Oscar bait by going against todays trend toward darkness. That Skeeter benefits from what he does for his niece and nephew is an object lesson in responsibility and benevolenceand it blesses the audience, too.
Skeeters stories range from Ancient Greece, Outer Space and the Old West to Medieval timesa genuinely cinematic panorama. Myth folds into contemporary living, rejuvenating Skeeters work-life and family heritage--vital things that hipster filmmakers P.T. Anderson and Soderbergh and Fincher dismiss. Sandler outpaces them all. Bedtime Stories parallels Sandlers 2002 film Eight Crazy NightsHollywoods only Hanukah-based animated filmas a comic artists individual expression.
Like Eddie Murphy in Norbit and Meet Dave, Sandler isnt ashamed to express his ethnicity. He shares his Jewishness ecumenicallyas a contribution to pop culture. This recalls the Palestinian professors credo in Munich, explaining why he translated The Arabian Nights: I love what this classic tells us about the power of narrative, the relationship of narrative to survival. Bedtime Stories is Sandlers credo.