Here are five words you probably never thought you'd hear in the same breath: "An Adam Sandler Disney movie." At first, it may seem counter-intuitive that a comedian as juvenile and, occasionally, crude as Sandler would be working in Uncle Walt's name. It may seem even stranger when you notice that his best friend is played by Russell Brand, who recently played an oversexed rock'n'roll star in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and has since caused a controversy or two, by mocking the Jonas Brothers for their virginity at the MTV Music Video awards and by making lewd phone calls while hosting a British radio show. But on a certain level, the pairing of Sandler and Disney makes sense: if Sandler is just an overgrown kid, then a movie made for kids, about bedtime stories that come true, should be right up his alley, provided of course that he can keep things clean. And surprise, he does, more or less.
Bedtime Stories is, itself, told as a bedtime story, as the voice of Jonathan Pryce addresses the audience over the opening credits (he tells us to "hold it in" if we missed our chance to go to the bathroom first), and the credits themselves play over a pop-up book that depicts parts of the movie that we are about to watch. Pryce himself appears in a prologue as Marty Bronson, a kind and thoughtful man who runs a motel with the help of his son and daughter—but when the money runs out, he has to sell it to a developer named Barry Nottingham (Richard Griffiths, best known now for playing Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter movies). Marty does, however, get Barry to promise that his son, Skeeter, can run the motel when he grows up.
Fast-forward a few decades, and Skeeter, now played by Sandler, is definitely not in charge of the business, ...1