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Bedtime Stories (Plus Standard DVD + Digital Copy + BD Live) - Blu-ray DVD / family and children's DVD / comedy DVD / action adventure DVD / Disney DVD review
Rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Adam Sandler, Keri Russell, Guy Pearce, Russell Brand, Lucy Lawless, Courteney Cox
Director: Adam Shankman Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
DVD release: 05 April 2009 Runtime: 99 min.
(3 discs)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 - English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - French, Spanish), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish, French), To All the Little People, Until Gravity Do Us Part (behind-the-scenes), It's Bugsy, Cutting Room Floor (deleted scenes), Laughter is Contagious (outtakes), Standard definition copy of feature, Digital copy of feature, BD-Live

Motel owner Marty Bronson (Jonathan Pryce) is good at making his guests feel welcome but bad at business. His children, Skeeter and Wendy, have their own particular aptitudes as well. Skeeter is a hotelier perhaps at a genetic level. Wendy chips in only begrudgingly. In the off hours, Marty is a mild and nurturing father who spins bedtime stories from thin air and magic. Naturally Marty fails at the business. He sells his homy little motel to Barry Nottingham on the condition that he give Skeeter a job. Barry really makes it work, and soon most of the motel is taken down and turned into a multi-story hotel. Skeeter (Adam Sandler) is still involved in the business, though only as a maintenance drone. Nonetheless, he has a way with people that the snobby concierge and staff do not. He's rough and brash, but people love him.

The next big move for Barry Nottingham (Richard Griffiths) is a new, 21st-century hotel with a fabulous theme that will blow your mind (TBA). He announces the manager at the new hotel is Kendall Duncan (Guy Pearce), immediately evident as the bad guy in this film. Kendall's betrothed is Violet Nottingham (Teresa Palmer), the daughter of Barry (no nepotism here). Violet plays the rich socialite sort of heiress - always getting her picture in the paper, sleeping around; not at all a simulacrum of anyone else in popular media.

Wendy (Courtney Cox) has grown into the kind of mother who insulates her children from television, gluten, hamburgers, processed sugars and much of life. A single mother and the principal of Webster Elementary, which her children attend, she needs to go to Arizona for a week to interview for a job: Webster Elementary will soon be closing its doors for good. Wendy asks Skeeter to watch her children, Bobbi and Patrick, at night while she's gone. Her friend Jill (Keri Russell) will handle the day shifts, but she attends night school and can't cover the night shift. Skeeter and Jill enjoy an acrimonious relationship from the get-go. Her Prius and his backfiring gas-guzzler are as disparate as their personalities.

Skeeter eases into the duties uneasily. He doesn't know his niece and nephew that well - seems he punched their father about four years before at a 4th of July Picnic, perhaps signalling the eventual egress of their deadbeat father. He hadn't been invited back since. The kids have the kinds of books on hand that you'd expect from a mother who makes a gluten-free wheatgrass birthday cake. Skeeter opts to make up a story rather than read The Organic Squirrel Gets a Bike Helmet. He launches into a story of his own which parallels his life, albeit shrouded in a medieval fantasy. This tale ends on a low-note, to the children's disappointment. They'd rather have a happy ending, but Skeeter tells them that there aren't happy endings in real life. Undaunted, the children make up their own happy ending to the story.

The next day, the elements that the children added to the story come true - even the part about it raining gumballs. Skeeter tries to make this work for him in subsequent bedtime stories, but the endings that the children contribute beget unpredictable results. Most of the elements the children contribute come true in real life ways that, while fantastic, are not unbelievable, save one. You'll know it when you see it, and despite this I do recommend seeing it.

Bedtime Stories is the best Adam Sandler vehicle since Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch Drunk Love. We get the Adam Sandler who makes us laugh and the Adam Sandler who can be a wonderful actor. He's silly, but he's down on his luck and we sympathize with him. I'd like to see more like this from him; we may well do so in the upcoming Funny People.

Bedtime Stories is great entertainment for the whole family. You'll love Bugsy, the Guinea Pig with the absurdly enormous eyes (not the result of any changes to reality caused by the stories). The stories are fanciful and imaginative and the children go wild with their ideas, not knowing that their uncle is trying to improve his lot. It's just a hoot.

The Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the movie, a bunch of extra features, the standard DVD and a digital copy. I'd recommend this edition. I love this versatility in a single purchase - I can see using each copy of this film for travel, on-the-go viewing, or gorgeous living-room viewing in hi-def.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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