December 30, 2008 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Film | December 30, 2008 |


Before we get to the review, a note: I dig the hell out of my kid. I mean: Seriously. Like any decent father, I like spending as much time with him as possible. I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can spend more time with him than a lot of Dads. But you: It’s OK to get away from the kid every once in a while. And reviewing movies allows me that ability. In a way, good, bad, or mediocre, I look forward to my weekly to thrice weekly trips to the movie theater — two hours in a dark room with a beverage and some peanut M&Ms is a nice respite. It’s an especially nice break the day after Christmas, when the lil’ one spends much of the day avoiding a nap so he can do the new toy dance (the kid’s a soft-shoe pro).

What I’m getting at is a complaint shared by many, but one that needs to be reiterated in this very special holiday season: Parents: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LEAVE YOUR FUCKING CRYING INFANT AT HOME. I don’t care if it’s a kid’s movie. I don’t care if it’s actually a movie about crying infants. That’s no goddamn excuse. I thought, perhaps, that when I became a parent, I might develop a small sympathy for those who’d bring their infants and toddlers into movie theaters — some sort of new-parent empathy. I didn’t; I hate them more because I now know what I’ve sacrificed to save pissing off a roomful of theatergoers (to wit: The chance to attend with Mrs. Pajiba-hyphenate). Here’s an idea: Get a babysitter, pudfuckers. And if you can’t afford a babysitter, what the fuck are you paying $50 in concessions for, you inconsiderate fat motherfuckers.

Today, during Bedtime Stories, I may have witnessed most inconsiderate of all motherfuckers. A family of five sat down behind me — Mom, Dad, two kids — around 5 and 7 — and an infant. A crying infant. A crying infant who came to the movies during feeding time. And it’s almost as noisy pulling out all the gear it takes to feed a baby than the crying baby itself. And when that baby started wailing, Mom — naturally — didn’t take the baby out into the hall to feed it. To burp and comfort it and put it to sleep. No ma’am. Uh huh. She might miss part of the movie. Instead, she asked the rest of her family to move to the front of the theater so they could enjoy the movie quietly, while she stayed behind me struggling with that wailing goddamn child of Satan. If I didn’t already know that they’d bought the large combos, I’d have dumped their popcorn and soda all over them. But I knew they’d just get the free refills and return with a new vengeance, a mission to destroy the quiet solitude for everyone. Bitches.

But what of the movie? Meh. Adam Sandler has been making mostly kids movies for years, so it’s actually nice that this one is labeled as such, so as not to disappoint the adults expecting something else. Bedtime Stories is a silly movie, about as dumb as a box of Sandler’s brain tissue, but at least Sandler’s brand of humor isn’t injected into adult storylines, like firemen pretending to be gay or an Israeli Special Forces soldier who moves to NYC to become a hair dresser. In other words: As mediocre as Bedtime Stories is, at least it’s not offensive. R-ratings don’t belong on Sandler flicks, I don’t care how vulgar they are. It’s still humor for kids. My only real reservation with the movie is that, after a few real actors and directors allowed Sandler into their grown-up films (Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish, Reign Over Me), I don’t know why Sandler felt compelled to return the favor and invite adult actors into a Happy Madison film — Kerri Russell, Russell Brand, and Guy Pierce have no business slumming it for a HM paycheck.

But: Kids will undoubtedly like it, it’s not so bad that most intelligent adults won’t be able to tolerate it if they allow themselves enough bathroom breaks, and many of those “stop thinking too far into movies and just let yourself laugh” adults will enjoy it as much as their much smarter children will. The premise: Adam Sandler plays Skeeter (because dog names are funny on adults?), a hotel maintenance man who has been working in the same hotel since his father was forced to sell it when he was a child. Skeeter naively believed that, with enough hard work and loyalty, he’d one day be able to run the hotel. Unfortunately, Kendall Kiss-Ass (Guy Pierce) seems to have the job wrapped up. That is, until Skeeter’s sister (Courtney Cox) leaves her two children alone with him for a week, while she travels to Arizona in search of a job. During that week, inexplicably, modern versions of the bedtime stories he tells those children come true in Skeeter’s life (or at least the children’s parts do) — he’s given a chance to compete for the job of hotel manager, he saves the hotel heiress from the paparazzo, and he develops a romantic relationship with the kid’s daycare provider (Keri Russell). Ultimately, it all unfolds according to the Happy Madison formula, and why not? Box-office wise, it’s worked more times than not for the 23 movies Happy Madison has already released into theaters, so, it’s surely to work for Bedtime Stories and the 14 future movies it already has in various stages of production (in addition to a project involving the unholy combination of Mitch Albom and Sandler, it looks like Happy Madison now owns Ana Farris and Chris Rock, too.) It’s amazing, really, Sandler’s ability to turn a ridiculously low concept into a trailer with mass market appeal and then fill in the 87 minutes of dead space with a bunch of ZIPPITYBOOS.

Hell, if Sandler weren’t so Gumpishly likable, I’d dislike him and his success. As it is, it’s difficult to work up a lather of hatred for the guy — at this point, you know exactly what you’re going to get from his films, and if you’re stupid enough to go, I guess you deserve the wailing infant behind you.


Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives withi his wife and son in Portland, Maine You can reach him via email, or leave a comment below.

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Yeah. But Does the Guinea Pig Die?

Bedtime Stories / Dustin Rowles

Film | December 30, 2008 | Comments ()




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