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Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Bedtime Stories (Blu-ray Combo Pack)”

(Disney. 1 hour, 39 minutes. Rated PG for some mild rude humor and mild language. Directed by Adam Shankman.) Adam Sandler, Courtney Cox Arquette, Keri Russell, Teresa Palmer, Guy Pearce, Lucy Lawless, Russell Brand, Richard Griffiths, Aisha Tyler, Jonathan Pryce. Music by Rupert Gregson-Williams.

Sandler toned down his usual rude/crude persona for this holiday entry which opened last Christmas Day to good box office. Now on video in a Blu-ray/DVD/digital-copy multi-pack, with bonus features. Sandler’s a lovable loser who grew up in a family motel run by his father (Pryce, who seems to have too much class to be in this project), but the place was sold to a hotel magnate (Griffiths), who’s got a Paris-Hilton-type daughter (Palmer). He keeps Sandler on as a maintenance man for 25 years. Scheming to keep Sandler down are two hotel employees (Pearce and Lawless). The appealing Keri Russell’s underused as a potential love interest.

Sandler’s sister (Cox Arquette) has to leave town, so he babysits her two young kids, telling them stories which have a strange way of coming true. One of the movie’s problems is that as the fleshed-out stories (all starring Sandler as some hero type) start to become interesting, they only last a couple of minutes each. The rest of the time we’re subjected to a plodding tale of a man-child waiting for his birthright to be restored. The only character with any life is a hotel waiter played by British TV personality Brand (the rock star from Forgetting Sarah Marshall); otherwise we get “Bugsy” the bug-eyed guinea pig to rely on way too often for laughs. Isn’t Sandler, at 42, getting a little long in the tooth to still be playing this type of character in the Judd-Apatow-fueled comedy era? It looks like he’s going to answer that question. Sandler’s next film arrives in theaters July 31: it’s called Funny People, co-starring Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, and directed by Apatow.