Tag: adam sandler

Uncut Gems


Uncut Gems (2019)
★★★★ / ★★★★

Here is a portrait of a bleeding man flopping about in the middle of the ocean, no help in sight for miles, as sharks circle around him. Writer-directors Benny and Josh Safdie observe with a careful eye as their subject attempts to wriggle himself out of one high tension, high anxiety situation after another. The man is named Howard Ratner, a jewelry store owner with a gambling addiction, and he owes a lot money from a lot of people all over New York City.

The Safdie brothers possess a knack for placing us in the action. Notice how scenes are rarely silent, if ever. For instance, in Howard’s often crowded jewelry store, people tend to talk over one another. Performers must shout in order to stand out from all the commotion. People are always moving around an enclosed space, whether we are the middle of a family gathering, at a school play, or at a club where The Weeknd is performing. Out in the streets, people walk and talk with urgency; it gives the impression that the directors simply decided to shoot in the middle of city. The impromptu tone and feeling is so apparent, there are instances where extras can be caught looking in the direction of the camera. And yet, miraculously, none of these elements distract us from observing Howard as he struggles to find excuses why he doesn’t have so-and-so’s money.

Howard is played by great vitality by Adam Sandler. The subject is not at all likable. He is neither a good husband nor father. His relatives regard him with disappointment. The people he employs tell him they do not feel respected or appreciated in the workplace. Debt collectors are tired of him. Some of them look as though they wish to kill him.

Sandler plays a drowning man so convincingly. At one point, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him even though I knew that his own actions have led him to current state of misery. But is he miserable? Or is what we are seeing simply the man going through the usual motions of an addict? He appears to be highly confident he could extricate himself out of tricky, potentially violent situations. Here is an excellent example of a character who is not likable but is endlessly fascinating. Howard needs serious help.

Many have complimented the Safdies for their ability to capture a ‘70s gritty vibe. It is well-deserved. But I take a bit further: the filmmakers have an understanding of films from the ‘70s that are about men with an inclination. Because Howard has gambling problem, notice how the camera is often fixated on his hands and mouth. The hands are always fidgeting, whether it be dialing a telephone, handing off cash or jewelry, or giving a restrained pat on the back or handshake. The mouth, too, is always moving even when it is not saying anything of value. Teeth protrude which gives the illusion of a false smile—when in fact it just makes people uncomfortable. There is an occasional repetitive smacking of the lips.

“Uncut Gems” is for viewers with a penchant for character study. There is action unfolding all around, but its core is a sad look at a man who is lost. The more we spend time with him, the more we are convinced he is beyond help. There is an exchange between Howard and his wife (Idina Menzel) during Passover in which the former begs the latter that maybe they ought to reconsider giving their marriage another shot. He appears earnest, but she just laughs at him anyway. In fact, she humiliates him. At the same time, Dinah cannot be blamed for acting this way. I think she is angry not just because of how he treats her but also in how he is like around their children. The teenage daughter barely looks at him. When she does, she looks at him as though he is trash. Maybe he is. And maybe he knows that, too.

Blended


Blended (2014)
★ / ★★★★

The first date between Jim (Adam Sandler) and Lauren (Drew Barrymore) at Hooters is a complete fiasco. The food is terrible, the venue is inappropriate, the conversation is either bland or offensive, and not once did either of them feel a spark that might warrant a second date. They’re convinced they are never going to see each other again. But given that this is a romantic-comedy, of course they do.

The screenplay by Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera is to blame for the picture’s lack of overall energy, entertainment value, and real emotions worth investing in. Without Barrymore and Sandler’s charm, I would not have been surprised if the film had not been given the green light. There are very few things here that makes it worth sitting through for two hours. Why watch this rubbish when Peter Segal’s “50 First Dates,” starring both Barrymore and Sandler, is lightyears more worthwhile?

I laughed a couple of times. Although a cliché, I liked that the single parents either have children that are all boys or all girls. The running gag that involves Hilary/Larry (Bella Thorne) being mistaken for a boy because she clothes herself in an athletic way and has a boyish haircut works for the most part because it is never mean-spirited. Thorne is quite good because unlike the other young actors, she never exaggerates.

Of course there is an inevitable makeover scene when we are shown how beautiful Hilary really is given the right haircut and clothes. But what I loved about it is Thorne’s decision to downplay the character. Everything is exaggerated: the flow-y extensions, the bright short dress, the makeup, and the shot unfolding in slow motion. But what does she do that stands out? She keeps her shoulders square, holding a lot of tension, which looks awkward—but it is right. Hilary comes across as a real person because for years she didn’t feel like she was beautiful. A makeover does not alter one’s confidence—at least not right away. I appreciated that the performer has the insight to keep it somewhat realistic.

I found its representation of Africa insulting at times. Everybody is a caricature in the resort. While the material is supposed to be light, accessible, and friendly, it did not need to be so hyperbolic all the time. Because the representation is so cartoonish, we never get a real sense that the characters are visiting a real and wondrous place. Later in the film, some of the characters claim that they miss Africa. We do not buy it for a second because we know that what they have experienced is a sham.

And then there is the central romance between Jim and Lauren. The screenplay spends so much time showing them interacting with one another’s children that there is not one convincing scene—one that is spot-on—that is dedicated only to the couple. As a result, we understand why they want to spend time with each other’s kids but not necessarily spend time with one another. We never get a sense of who they really are as a couple.

“Blended,” directed by Frank Coraci, is appropriately titled because it is a mess. It does not offer enough moments of subtlety and maturity to appeal to adults. And yet it is also not appropriate for children because it does have jokes that are so inappropriate, it requires parents to do some explaining afterwards. And so who is the target audience? People who want to see Barrymore and Sandler together again? That’s a low bar.

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)


The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)
★★★ / ★★★★

Comedies involving dysfunctional families are easy to make: throw in a bunch of superficially quirky personalities in a carbonated situation, shake it vigorously, and watch the reaction occur. But to make a good comedy that just so happens to focus on a dysfunctional family requires a bit more effort, some finesse, because the viewers are asked to attempt to understand how each mind is working, why certain personalities clash, and what present conflicts stem from which histories, real or imagined. Clearly, “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected),” written and directed by Noah Baumbach, belongs to the latter because it concerned about mental machinations and acrobatics behind behavior.

The characters we are asked to observe have been touched by the art world one way or another. Harold (Dustin Hoffman), the patriarch, has two sons (Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller) and a daughter (Elizabeth Marvel), none of whom have forged a career in the arts as he had once wished or expected. Harold the sculptor and former Bard College professor is an interesting specimen because although he does not mince words not once does he say outright that he is disappointed with his children.

Instead, the material and Hoffman focus on showing, occasionally underlining, what seeps through the cracks. We can catch the father’s regrets in the way he treats his children, one of them being the clear favorite but a disappointment nonetheless. Notice numerous instances in which he and his offsprings, as a group or one-on-one, are sitting on the same table but consistently talking through one another. Some may consider this technique as classic comedy trope but peer closer and realize that it is a symptom of passive aggression.

The script functions on this level of intelligence and realism throughout the entire picture. It is refreshing to hear the way people actually speak or behave with one another as we do in real life rather than yet another tired and true ideations gracing the screen. Although the dysfunctional family sub-genre is rife with clichés, Baumbach tweaks the formula just enough to keep the material interesting, whether it be in terms of characterization or how a scene is delivered. An example of the latter involves fading to black right in the middle of interactions, sometimes mid-conversation, when the punchline has been delivered.

Although the characters are well-drawn in general, I was less impressed by Sandler and Stiller’s performances, particularly when they revert to their go-to histrionics to wring laughter out of the audience. I enjoyed it best when they simply respond as real people when thrusted in certain situations. Yelling like madmen, destroying cars, and getting into a scuffle on a lawn, for instance, take us out of the situation. Right then we see Sandler and Stiller the comedians rather than Danny and Matthew the long-suffering half-brothers, the former currently unemployed and the latter a successful Los Angeles-based financial advisor.

Baumbach does not offer anything new in this project, but it is entertaining and honest about family dynamics and the shifts that inevitably occur when tragedy befalls a clan. Observant viewers will be rewarded because it is a picture that details information through subtle usage of words and body language.

Pixels


Pixels (2015)
★ / ★★★★

Congratulations to the screenwriters, Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling, for taking a really cool premise and diluting it down to tripe so worthless, so unimaginative, and so unfunny, the film is actually insulting to sit through. For most of the picture’s duration, I sat in my chair with an increasing feeling of embarrassment and anger for everyone involved—but especially for the audience going into this with any sort of positive expectation.

In 1982, young Brenner (Anthony Ippolito) and his friends competed in the Arcade World Championships. During the competition, it was announced NASA planned to send a time capsule to outer space and a videocassette from the competition would be included. More than thirty years later, extraterrestrials that received the package send weapons inspired by the 1980s arcade games to attack a U.S. military base in Guam under the false belief that the videocassette contains a declaration of war. It is now up to adult Brenner (Adam Sandler) and his pals (Kevin James, Josh Gad) to face the invaders’ challenges and save the planet from extraterrestrial domination.

The special and visual effects look cheap and ugly. The video game characters shown are always pixellated—with one most unnecessary exception toward the end—and so the action sequences are never convincing, always cartoonish. No tension is generated from the colorful pixels and so the elaborate set pieces end up looking like a bag full of garbage being blown up. Take note of the final battle in the U.S. capital. The visuals look like a made-for-TV movie with a severely limited budget. If I were to scrape the bottom of the barrel for a positive comment, the film is only very mildly entertaining because we cannot help but try to recognize the ‘80s references.

There is no character worth rooting for because they are all caricatures. I am sick of Sandler playing a slob of a man-child always winning the heart of a successful, beautiful woman (Michelle Monaghan). It appears as though he puts no effort while he is in front of the camera. He just shows up brain-dead because the check is already in the bank. Sandler and Monaghan share no chemistry or even an inkling of intrigue. To be blunt, every time the two are only a few inches apart, especially when they go for a kiss, my gut groaned in disgust.

The writers do not bother writing jokes that are even remotely funny. I probably would have been slightly entertained with some well-made and well-placed puns. But no, what we get is Gad doing his usual shrieking routine as if he were a banshee from hell. My ears felt assaulted. I felt my brain cells dying and going deaf by the second. That’s quite a feat. No one deserves such a punishment.

“Pixels,” shockingly directed by Chris Columbus, is a depressingly bad movie. I felt crippled by its inanities disguised as humor. At one point, I began to consider that perhaps it is confused with regards to its target audience. Further, the film lacks a range of laughs, interesting characters, an arc, and a creative script. Although its premise sounds like an entryway to some mindless but bona fide fun, ultimately it fails to deliver from its great potential.

Men, Women & Children


Men, Women & Children (2014)
★★ / ★★★★

Jason Reitman’s “Men, Women & Children” is an attempt to look at our relationship with the internet and how it has come to define our lives in the past decade or so by focusing on a small American suburb. While the picture commands an interesting and relevant premise, it is not a successful picture. Not only is the running time too bloated—a surprise given there are multiple subplots worthy of exploration—but characters, especially in the latter half, are reduced to clichés. For a movie that tries to tackle a modern subject, it is not forward-thinking enough.

The varying strands are all cautionary tales. Perhaps most fascinating is Patricia (Jennifer Garner) who makes it her mission to protect her daughter, Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever), from the dangers of social media. She is convinced that if she learns every password, keeps track of every keystroke, and knows about her daughter’s location at all times, Brandy will be safe. Patricia is so busy keeping up that she fails to realize that she has a good daughter and her “protecting” is doing more harm than good. Garner plays the mother with fervor but stifles the emotions just enough to prevent the character from turning into a caricature.

A curious but undercooked character is Allison (Elena Kampouris), formerly a fat girl who lost a lot of weight during the summer. She has anorexia but she is admired by her friends for “looking beautiful.” Boys even want to sleep with her now. Each time the focus is on Allison, I could not help but think about Lauren Greenfield’s excellent but not widely seen documentary called “Thin.” That movie understands eating disorders at its core. On the other hand, this film, for the most part, makes it look like Allison’s eating disorder is about wanting to be liked rather than having an irrational obsession to restrict.

Weaker still is the strand involving a married couple (Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt) who are bored with each other and so they use the internet to hookup with strangers. We never understand why their marriage is stale. Instead, we watch them on the couch looking bored and sort of mentioning about how often they had sex years ago. Many of their scenes come across almost farcical—situations that are easily found in bad comedies. Don and Helen are not characters but stick figures. I would rather have learned more about Kent (Dean Norris) and Donna (Judy Greer), a father with a depressed son (Ansel Elgort) and a mother with a daughter craving stardom (Olivia Crocicchia).

To get us into the mood of its characters, the picture is shot in warm, pale light especially when a scene is taking place at night and indoors. This is an elementary approach but the way it is done here is most inelegant. We notice the technical elements because the drama is not completely captivating.

Lastly, given its subject of the internet’s ability to affect all lives, I was surprised to not have seen more diversity in both casting and characters. By the end, one gets the impression that this story is only about white, middle-class, heterosexual people. Them being more or less the same contributes to the screenplay running out of steam just before the halfway mark.

Zookeeper


Zookeeper (2011)
★★ / ★★★★

Griffin (Kevin James), a zookeeper, takes his girlfriend, Stephanie (Leslie Bibb), to the beach on a horseback to propose marriage. She declines because she feels that he being zookeeper, though cute because of the uniform, is not a respectable profession for someone she hopes to spend the rest of her life with.

Five years later, Griffin is single and still a zookeeper. On his brother’s wedding, he spots Stephanie in the crowd and his feelings for her begin to resurface. It turns out the animals in the zoo (voiced by Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Judd Apatow, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love, Maya Rudolph, Bas Rutten) can speak to one another and understand human language so they hold a meeting on how to help Griffin get the girl.

Directed by Frank Coraci, “Zookeeper” has several snappy dialogue, mostly between the animals, but it does not quite reach its full comedic potential because it is often weighed down by a romance that is dead on arrival.

Griffin is a kind person, one who will go out of his way to make sure that a friend or an animal is doing well, but he is a pushover and somewhat unaware of what people think of him as well as what they really want from him. The picture spends most of its time showing Griffin desperately trying to win Stephanie back. She is so unlikable, the complete opposite of Kate (Rosario Dawson), the zoo’s veterinarian and Griffin’s good friend, to the point where their scenes leave me either cringing or annoyed.

Would it have taken much effort from the writers to have written both women as having good and bad qualities? That way, allowing a certain level of uncertainty might compel us to feel more involved. Since the characterization is so thin and one-dimensional, from the moment Kate appears on screen, we know that Stephanie will get what she deserves.

I wanted to see Griffin interact more with the talking animals. The film does a good job in allowing Griffin to get to know Bernie (Nolte), a sad gorilla who has isolated himself from the other animals. Their trip to T.G.I.F. is completely ludicrous but it worked for me because it shows Griffin’s ability to sympathize and accept unconditionally, qualities that Stephanie does not (or cannot) show toward our protagonist.

It is not and should not be about whether the situation is believable. If the material has talking animals, the filmmakers better be confident in going all the way. They are and, in its own peculiar way, it works. I wished the screenplay had also given Griffin a chance to interact with the other animals in a meaningful way. For example, there are several lines which suggest that the elephant is teased by the other animals for being overweight. Since the movie is supposed to be for kids, there could have been a lesson or two about making fun of someone for being too fat or too tall or too weird.

Nevertheless, “Zookeeper” manages to keep itself afloat. Some of the dialogue, like the line involving parrots, is smart and it is easy to root for Griffin to find happiness. It just requires a little bit more rhythm in balancing the offbeat and the charm.

Hotel Transylvania


Hotel Transylvania (2012)
★ / ★★★★

Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) builds Hotel Transylvania not only as a haven for monsters but also a place where his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), can grow up and live a life that is away from humans. Over the years, Dracula has led his fellow monsters to believe that people hate their kind, that monsters are meant to be maimed and destroyed. When a backpacker named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) ends up in the hotel during Mavis’ one hundred eighteenth birthday, however, Dracula’s lies to his daughter and community finally come to light. Maybe not all humans are intolerant of monsters.

Despite the glitz, color, and energy of “Hotel Transylvania,” it is ultimately hampered by a screenplay that touches upon too many themes without devoting the necessary time and attention to any of them. The central lesson about tolerance is often upended by a possible romance, constant whining between father and daughter, and initially funny jokes recycled so many times that sitting through them becomes a miserable experience.

The best thing it has going for it are the supporting characters that have been already embraced by popular culture. Most visually appealing is a Murray the Mummy (CeeLo Green), the way his eyes glow behind those white wrappings and the manner in which he jumbles about as he moves from one spot to another. Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade), Frankenstein (Kevin James), and Bigfoot, occasionally appearing as one giant foot, are welcome but mostly uninspired additions. It is a shame that other than about two jokes regarding our stereotypes of them, they are not given anything interesting to do or say. They are a bore at times because they seem to share one personality. For instance, when Dracula’s lies are exposed, not one of them is given an appropriate reaction.

The script is confused. It is bizarre that Dracula is immediately unlikeable when he is supposed to be the conduit between the monster and human spheres. If the first scene had established the reason why Dracula has grown to dislike humans, perhaps the character’s foibles would have been more tolerable. Instead, the very protective father earning our sympathy becomes a pointless uphill battle. The interactions he has with his daughter are supposed to have a level of sensitivity but since a clear motivation is lacking, not only do they seem forced, they also scream a lack of sophistication. It becomes noticeable that the writing is barely there. The more the characters speak, it is all the more transparent that they do not actually say anything worth listening to.

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, “Hotel Transylvania” will mostly appeal to very young kids with very short attention spans. There is something flying or being thrown across the room in every other scene. But for children, teens, and adults who want to feel either a sense of wonder from putting these memorable monsters in one place or something genuine between a parent and his child, such qualities are absent here. A picture book about classic monsters that require only five minutes to peruse is better than spending ninety minutes you will never get back.

Just Go with It


Just Go with It (2011)
★★ / ★★★★

Dr. Danny Maccabee’s (Adam Sandler) hobby was using his wedding ring and pretending to be a mistreated husband in order to lure younger women into bed. But when Danny met Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), a smokin’ hot twentysomething, they seemed to make a genuine connection. There was one problem: Palmer found Danny’s wedding ring in his pants and he was forced to construct a lie because he didn’t want to lose her. With the help of his assistant, Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), the two pretended to be a soon-to-be-divorced couple. “Just Go with It,” directed by Dennis Dugan, had its moments of effective laughs, but getting to those peaks was rather painful because it relied on one type of joke for too long. Let’s take the film’s use of a person’s physical deformity to get us to laugh. The woman with the uneven eyebrows was hilarious to me. Her right one was like a creature independent from her face. But I also laughed with her because she didn’t act like her eyebrow was too far from the norm. However, like one of the eyebrows, the comedy was stuck in one position. We were subjected to seeing characters with unusually large noses, paralyzed faces, and breasts bigger than the other. Danny and Katherine were supposed to be professionals, but not once did we see them act like they worked in a private practice. I overlooked certain questions, like how Sandler’s character could attract someone of Palmer’s caliber and how Danny could be doctor when he couldn’t suppress acting like a child for one second, because I understood its elements of absurdist comedy. But even that type of comedy had to be rooted in reality. The film lost steam a few minutes prior to its halfway point. Specifically, the material became significantly less funny when they got to Hawaii. Danny’s interaction with Katherine’s kids (Bailee Madison, Griffin Gluck) was amusing at first. Maggie, an aspiring actress, spoke in a shrill British accent and Michael, whose favorite show was “Californication,” was the silent-depressed type. However, the scenes with the kids grew tiresome. I wanted to know more about the feelings between Danny and Katherine. Toward the end, they got hooked into a game in which they had to tell what they loved most about each other. While the lines spoken were sweet, I was slightly detached because I didn’t feel like the lines uttered were completely earned. I thought about the earlier scenes when Danny and Katherine flirted endlessly when they were supposed to be doing their jobs and how the screenplay, by Allan Loeb and Timothy Dowling, failed to magnify the chemistry between the doctor and the single mother. I also wanted to know more about Katherine and her own feelings of inadequacy when she was next to a much younger woman. Still, “Just Go with It” managed to keep afloat because there were some surprises in terms of casting and certain actors playing against type which was really fun to see.

Punch-Drunk Love


Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
★★★ / ★★★★

Adam Sandler should star in more movies like this one because it’s a nice break from his monotonous, painfully obvious and predictable slapstick comedies. “Punch-Drunk Love,” written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, was about a small business owner named Barry Egan (Sandler) who fell for his sister’s co-worker (Emily Watson) after one of his seven sisters (Mary Lynn Rakskub) set him up because the sister claimed he lacked initiative. Meanwhile, Barry was caught up in a scam, led by Philip Seymour Hoffman, after he called a phone-sex line. I loved the movie’s dry sense of humor and lack of sentimentality. The romance between Sandler and Watson was offbeat at best; it was difficult to see what they liked about one another because both were so strange. Even though I did not necessarily relate with Barry, I was fascinated with his behavior when things were calm and the way he responded to certain stimuli. He was unpredictable. When challenged, he would either go on scary fits of violent rage or would run away like a mouse. I wanted to know if he had bipolar disorder or whether he just did not have a healthy outlet to release the frustrations he had about his life, especially the annoyances from her overbearing sister. I found Barry’s sister absolutely hilarious but I think if she was my sister, I would just go crazy. Furthermore, I liked how Anderson portrayed what family gathering was really like. In more mainstream projects, members of the family would sit on a table and have hush-hush conversations as the camera focused on the key characters. In this film, everyone gossiped, insulted each other insidiously, laughed at the top of their lungs to the point where one could barely hear his or her own thoughts. The scene was plagued with a loud buzzing sound which caught my attention because it was realistic. I wish the picture had more scenes with the family because it was a nice change of pace from Barry’s isolated space which had a lot of gloom. “Punch-Drunk Love” showcases Sandler’s acting muscles and I was happy to see that he tried to do something different. I did not expect that he was able to go head-to-head with Hoffman because Hoffman had such a presence about him in all of his roles. I expect that a lot of Sandler’s fans would find this movie somewhat distasteful because its humor almost always stemmed from self-loathing and repressed emotional problems which–let’s admit–can be depressing at times. However, I think it’s a smart movie that is willing to look beyond the idiosyncracies of its characters and focus on their more compelling angles.

Funny People


Funny People (2009)
★★ / ★★★★

“Funny People,” written and directed by Judd Apatow, stars a bunch of funny people: Adam Sandler as a senior comedian who discovers that he has a fatal disease, Seth Rogen as an aspiring comedian who Sandler hires to write jokes for him, Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman as Rogen’s flatmates, Leslie Mann as Sandler’s ex-lover and Eric Bana as Mann’s unfaithful husband. Unfortunately, the material was not as funny as I expected it to be. In fact, it was quite serious because the lead character was obviously depressed because of his doomed fate. There were a few jokes with chuckling from here and there but there were no laugh-out-loud funny moments as they were in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” or “Knocked Up.” If Apatow was aiming for some sort of a dark comedy because it did (or was supposed to) have jokes about death, then I believe it completely failed on that level. I had major problems with Sandler’s character because I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to feel sorry for him. Not for one second did I feel bad for him because he was a jerk even to those who obviously cared for him. When his character finally met up with Mann after years of not seeing each other, he fell in love with her all over again but I didn’t buy it. After all, how could a guy who didn’t value himself and his friendships value some kind of a romantic relationship (and a flimsy one at that)? The film wasn’t logical and it should have been because this picture was supposed to be for adults. I was more interested in the angle regarding what it took to be a successful comedian instead of Sandler’s so-called plight. I enjoyed the cameos from Sarah Silverman, Andy Dick, Charles Fleischer, Eminem, Ray Romano, and others. With such a brilliant cast who are very funny in other movies, this film failed to take risks. Instead it featured one contrived and sometimes uncomfortable moments on top of one another. If it weren’t for the breathers (such as the cameos) that had nothing to do with the drama in the character’s depressing lives, I would have been harsher with this picture. If you’re a fan of any of the names mentioned, then by all means, see it. However, I warn you to not expect too much because it doesn’t have enough meat to carry a two-hour-and-thirty-minute feature.

Bedtime Stories


Bedtime Stories (2008)
★ / ★★★★

I understand that I’m not the target audience of this movie. That said, I do enjoy children’s movies from time to time because I’m a kid at heart, but I didn’t enjoy this even for one second. Although it had talented actors such as Adam Sandler (arguably), Keri Russell, Guy Pearce, Russell Brand, Richard Griffiths and Courtney Cox, the material was just too bland and uninteresting for smarter kids and adults. The premise of the picture is that Sandler tells a story to Cox’s children (Jonathan Morgan Heit and Laura Ann Kesling) and eventually they come true in some shape or form in real life. I found it to be an unfunny, one-note joke; I grew tired of it after thirty minutes, only to find out that I still have about an hour remaining. The bit about the school being demolished for a new hotel felt too forced. I wish the writers, Matt Lopez and Tim Herlihy, had more jokes that pertain to adults and something more concrete for the children. There were too many slapstick jokes but not enough gravity to establish why the audiences should care for the characters and the story. The point of telling stories is to escape reality. However, the stories that Sandler’s character told were ultimately one-dimensional. In my opinion, it would have been so much better if each story had a different genre yet there’s still a valuable lesson that can be learned. Instead, some of them are heavy on the special and visual effects but they do not seem to amount to anything. If one is contemplating to show this to his or her children, make sure to show it before bedtime because the children will most likely fall asleep somewhere in the middle.