It sounds like a can't-miss concept: a Disney movie about a guy who tells wonderful, fantastic bedtime stories that actually come true in real life. And when the guy is Adam Sandler, how can this possibly be a bad movie? Aren't you buying tickets online for your entire family right now, even as you read about this possible cinematic land of delights? Except that watching Bedtime Stories is about as delightful as peeking into your Christmas stocking and finding it empty except for a few lint-covered peppermints.
The movie opens with a little tale narrated by the most stereotypically folksy voice you can imagine, a distillation of Wilford Brimley and Roy Rogers ... and it's Jonathan Pryce, setting up the story of Sandler's character Skeeter. Seeing Pryce at this time of year made me think of Brazil, thus triggering nostalgia for a movie that is the diametric opposite of this one. Pryce's character, Marty, has to sell the hotel to a Brit who gets to keep his accent, Barry Nottingham (Richard Griffiths), who promises that someday Marty's little boy Skeeter can earn the chance to run the hotel himself. (Marty's daughter is SOL, one presumes.) Barry agrees, then replaces most of the homey motel with a snazzy high-rise hotel.