16 June 2009

DVD: "Bedtime Stories"

Bedtime Stories
Directed by Adam Shankman
Story by Matt Lopez
Screenplay by Matt Lopez and Tim Herlihy
Starring: Adam Sandler, Keri Russell, Guy Pearce, Russell Brand, Richard Griffiths, Jonathan Pryce, Courteney Cox, Lucy Lawless, Teresa Palmer
DVD Release Date: 7 April 2009
MPAA Rating: PG (For Some Mild Rude Humor and Mild Language)
List Price: $29.99

The Film
Skeeter (Sandler) has inherited his father's (Pryce) gift for storytelling--and a desire to oversee the operations at the corporate hotel that has taken over from his father's quaint bed and breakfast. His sister, Wendy (Cox) asks him to babysit for a week while she travels to Arizona to interview for a position, as the school where she is the principal is being closed. Skeeter shares the task with Jill (Russell), a friend and colleague of Wendy's with whom he does not get along. Pretty soon, though, Skeeter discovers elements from the yarns he has spun to entertain his niece and nephew appear in his daily life and begins to wonder...can he influence his real life?

The DVD
Shame on Disney! The only features to be found are a collection of trailers for other current and forthcoming Disney releases. There is a Deluxe DVD Edition, which includes bloopers, deleted scenes, a featurette on CGI critter Bugsy, another on the film's special effects and...a featurette extolling the virtues of Blu Ray. Especially frustrating is the fact that these features are all found on the same disc as the feature film in the Deluxe release; the second disc only contains a digital copy of the film, meaning that the features were only withheld in the manufacturing process to create this bare bones edition. Fine, but the list price of this is an insane $29.99; the Deluxe DVD Edition lists for a scant $3.00 more at $32.99.

The Recommendation
Adam Sandler in a Disney film? It seems both inconceivable and inevitable, and the truth is it works better than I'd thought. Sandler has an innate childlike quality of innocence, and he taps into this quite naturally. In truth, Bedtime Stories is a logical progression from, say, 50 First Dates. Keri Russell is charming and Russell Brand is surprisingly effective within the constraints of a Disney picture. The children never quite become the focus of the story, but they also never become the tiresome cliches that so many child characters do in films like this (at least, until the last ten minutes). Young children might find this film too oriented around the adult world, and older kids might find its lack of wanton destruction boring. I'm 30, though, and I found it "just right."

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