BluRay Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    Adam Sandler as SKEETER BRONSON
    Keri Russell as JILL
    Guy Pearce as KENDALL
    Russell Brand as MICKEY
    Richard Griffiths as BARRY NOTTINGHAM
    Teresa Palmer as VIOLET NOTTINGHAM
    Lucy Lawless as ASPEN
    Courteney Cox as WENDY

    Rated PG
    Studio: Disney

    Directed by: Adam Shankman

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Skeeter Bronson (Adam Sandler) works as a maintenance man at the hotel his father built, but he’s never been able to rise into management to take over the business like his father wanted. When his sister (Courteney Cox) has him babysit her kids for a few days, he starts to make up bedtime stories for them. Skeeter lets his imagination run wild, telling the story of his struggles in a fairy tale backdrop. But soon, his niece and nephew start telling their own versions of the stories... and they start to come true.

Skeeter soon realizes what’s happening with the stories. So, he tries to manipulate their outcomes to his own benefit to win a new job and the pretty girl. However, he soon learns that things don’t always work out like he hopes.

This past Christmas was a crowded one at the cinemas. However, with so many films opening on Christmas Day, there were only two that were appropriate for families – “Marley & Me” and “Bedtime Stories.” I thoroughly enjoyed both of these films, and “Bedtime Stories” was actually the best bet for families during the holiday season.

When it comes to Adam Sandler, he blows hot and cold for me. While I do enjoy his earlier raunchy work in films like “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore,” I have enjoyed his more family-friendly fair. Movies like “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” aren’t the ones I like the best. But for an otherwise abrasive guy, Sandler comes across congenial and very warm in this and his other family films. He’s got a unique characteristic that is both self-deprecating and cuddly at the same time.

The real charm of “Bedtime Stories” is how it works as a family film. The kids in the movie are central to the story, but they really aren’t the lead. This balances things out well for the adults who want to see a movie about Sandler and the kids who want to see a movie that they can relate to.

Like other Disney films of the past, the character that steals the show isn’t even human. Similar to the pot-bellied pig in “College Road Trip,” Bugsy the bug-eyed hamster is easily one of the funniest things in this movie.

As much as I enjoyed watching “Bedtime Stories,” and as much fun as it was to watch my young kids watch the movie, I will admit that the story was really corny at times. The overall “Walter Mitty” plot about a guy living in a bit of a fantasy world is cool, but the underlying story about the hotel management trying to take over and eventually tear down the kids’ school is a bit much. Still, this does work for a family film because the school angle makes it all relateable to children.

Both the DVD and the BluRay disc include a string of bloopers and a couple deleted scenes. There’s also a spotlight on Bugsy the Hamster, which works out rather nicely considering he’s the best character in the film. There’s also a family-friendly featurette that explains how the various special effects were used to bring the film to life.

Like previous Disney releases (e.g., “Pinocchio” and “Bolt”), the BluRay box set includes a DVD of the film with all the same special features (as well as a bonus bit featuring Dylan and Cole Sprouse from “The Suite Life on Deck,” highlighting the joys of BluRay). This offers a way to transition your home theater experience to BluRay without the initial investment of a player an hi-def television. Start with the DVD and keep the BluRay for when you take the plunge.

Plus, a third Digital Copy disc comes in the packaging that can transfer the movie to your portable viewing device.

Kids and families, and the general Disney crowd.

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