Saturday, January 10, 2009

Article by Leonard Maltin

As a fan of film, I found this interesting essay by Leonard Maltin' on his website ( about Adam Sandler's latest movie Bedtime Stories. It about sums it up for me!

When I launched this site I decided not to waste time writing about movies I didn’t like, but every now and then I can’t help myself. There’s a scene in the new movie Bedtime Stories set in a hardware store where Adam Sandler’s character—acting on a premonition that he’s going to be set on fire—purchases oven mitts, a fire extinguisher, and a garden hose. Then he spies a can of flame-retardant spray for Christmas trees and sprays it on his hands to see what it feels like. A worker comes along and asks what he’s doing and, for no apparent reason, he sprays some of it in the man’s eyes, which causes him to scream in pain. Then Sandler sprays some in his own eyes. Blackout.
It’s this kind of so-called comedy that’s made me want to run for cover whenever a new Adam Sandler movie comes along. I’d hoped that this one, his first for the Walt Disney company, would be different, and at first it is. In fact, it has the potential to be a sweet family film about an underdog who makes good, with the help of some bedtime stories and a big dose of imagination.
Then Sandler and his writing cohort Tim Herlihy (who coscripted with Matt Lopez) get to work vulgarizing it. In a western scene, there’s a closeup of a horse farting. In a Star Wars-inspired sequence Sandler and his rival (Guy Pearce) are attacked by a giant, slimy “booger monster.” And so it goes.
If one can get past this dispiriting line of humor there’s the script to contend with. The story becomes ridiculously complicated, and rather than simplify or clarify it, the powers-that-be decided to throw money at it instead. I can’t imagine what all the elaborate costumes, sets and visual effects must have cost.
I saw this at a Disney screening with parents and young kids who seemed to enjoy it. I don’t expect ten-year-olds to be critical; I just pray that some day someone will introduce them to something better.
By the way, not a single person at the screening laughed when Sandler sprayed the fire retardant in the man’s eyes and then his own. Maybe there’s hope for civilization after all.