Having suffered through Adam Sandler's You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008), I was prepared to suffer through Bedtime Stories, his offering in the 2008 Christmas glut of fine movies that have few for kids. Sandler rules: This is one of the best children/adult stories this year, an ironic twist on romantic and heroic tales told from children's point of view through the masterful child/adult lens of an underplaying, child-friendly master.
Sandler's Skeeter Bronson takes care of his niece and nephew for a week. Of course he hasn't a clue because he hasn't seen them in four years and his job as super-maintenance man at the Sunny Vista Hotel in Las Vegas consumes most of his time and energy. He's the usual Sandler sweet-hearted semi-loser with reserves of child-like sympathies ready to be released.
The conceit is that after telling the humorous tales with the kids' ample and creative input at bedtime, the story elements become real in real life, altered to fit the modern context (e.g., a rain of gumballs actually happens the next day, explainable by a candy truck spilling its contents over a bridge onto Sandler). In this ingenious way, the film recalls the Wizard-of-Oz trick of making real in Kansas what Dorothy had experienced in the Emerald City.
There is nothing deep about this delight, just a small satire of a society that may be losing its sense of wonder and fun in order to bow at the altars of nutrition and commercialism. Not bad for a film I thought would be another Sander nodder. It woke me up to the joys of imagination and love.