Story

Marty Bronson (Jonathan Pryce) is forced to sell his hotel to Barry Nottingham (Richard Griffiths), a hotel entrepreneur, who promises Marty that his son Skeeter will be the new hotel’s manager when he grows up.

Twenty-five years later, Skeeter (Adam Sandler) is working as a maintenance man in one of Barry’s hotels. Skeeter hopes that Barry will make him manager of his new hotel, but when the new manager is announced it turns out to be Skeeter’s nemesis, a man named Kendall (Guy Pearce).

Skeeter’s sister Wendy (Courteney Cox) is going away. She asks Skeeter to look after her children, Patrick (Jonathan Morgan Heit) and Bobbi (Laura Ann Kesling), during the night. A friend named Jill (Keri Russell) will look after the children during the day. When Skeeter puts the children to bed at night, he tells them a bedtime story about a magical land with knights and castles, where the characters in the story are played by the various people in Skeeter’s life including Kendall, who plays the villain of the story. Part of the way through Skeeter’s telling of the story, Patrick and Bobbi interject their own outlandish additions to the story. One of these involves the king in the story (Barry) giving the underdog of the story (Skeeter) a chance to rule his kingdom in place of Kendall. The following day unexpected events begin to occur, and Skeeter realises that somehow his bedtime stories are coming true.

Themes

None of concern

Violence

Bedtime Stories contains slapstick violence. Examples include the following:

  • Skeeter talks about punching his sister’s husband and giving him a wedgie.
  • Skeeter throws a handful of cooked chips with sauce in a man’s face as a joke.
  • A medieval knight is riding a horse when the horse disappears beneath him. The man falls to the ground on his bottom in a comical manner. The man is unharmed.
  • A medieval styled goblin is physically thrown out of a castle.
  • Skeeter slams a door in Jill’s face, twice. The door does not hit Jill.
  • A man threatens to make bacon out of Bugsy, a pet guinea pig.
  • One of Skeeter’s stories involves a group of cowboys surrounding a woman and moving in towards her in a threatening manner. Dressed as a cowboy, Skeeter lassoes a log, and pulls it along the ground, knocking over the cowboys. He then shoots the gun out of another man’s hand.
  • A male dwarf kicks Skeeter in the leg and then runs off.
  • A man tricks Skeeter into believing that he is going to be given a Ferrari. He steals Skeeter’s wallet from his pocket and runs off.
  • One of Skeeter’s dreams features a fight between Skeeter and Kendall. In the fight, both men float in the air and shoot guns at each other with long rubbery hands coming out of the guns and slapping at the two men. During the fight, a beast called a Booger Monster attacks the men, trying to lick them with its long green slime-covered tongue. The Booger Monster falls on Kendall, covering him in green slime. Skeeter is incinerated in a fireball.
  • Skeeter sprays a toxic spray into a shop assistant’s eyes and then into his own eyes. They both scream in pain.
  • Skeeter uses a fire extinguisher to put out a small fire and afterwards Barry’s face is covered in foam.
  • Skeeter rides a motorbike in a reckless manner, nearly colliding with a fire truck, causing a large sign to fall onto a car, and then running into and knocking out Kendall, who is left lying unconscious on the ground.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • In a bedtime story, there are images of a small green goblin.
  • A pet guinea-pig has large bulging eyes, which may disturb some younger children.
  • In a bedtime story, a giant green slime-covered creature referred to as the Booger Monster attacks both Skeeter and Kendall. The monster has a large green slime-covered tongue that he uses to lick his victims, covering them in green slime.
  • Skeeter gets stung on the tongue by a bee when he licks an ice cream. Skeeter's tongue swells up and hangs out of his mouth and he has trouble talking.

From 5-8

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 8

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Sexual references

There are some low-level sexual references in this movie, including the following:

  • On a couple of occasions, Barry’s daughter Violet is referred to as ‘hot’. Skeeter refers to Violet as someone who goes out clubbing with guys, implying that she is sexually promiscuous.
  • A man asks to be made all sexy like a pop star.
  • A man wears a woman’s grass skirt and coconut shells on his chest.
  • After Skeeter gives Barry a hug, we hear a woman say, ‘That’s so sweet and creepy’.
  • A young boy (five years) talks about having a crush on a young girl.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including the following:

  • Several people in a restaurant drink wine.
  • Skeeter talks about drinking champagne in a hot tub.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • women in low-cut dresses that reveal deep cleavage
  • women wearing bikinis that reveal deep cleavage
  • Skeeter standing upside down while riding on a chariot with his red underwear exposed
  • A young girl (seven years) approaching a young boy (five years) and asking him if there is some way she can show him her appreciation. She kisses the boy on the cheek. The boy’s mother asks the boy whether the girl is a little old for him
  • Skeeter and Jill kissing each other hard on the lips.

Product placement

Several types of junk foods are used or displayed in this movie.

Coarse language

This movie contains some mild coarse language and put-downs.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Bedtime Stories is a light-hearted and entertaining adventure comedy that targets children, younger adolescents and families.

The main messages from this movie are to:

  • be not too serious, and enjoy life’s little pleasures that are mostly taken for granted
  • take a chance on life – happiness comes unexpectedly.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences. For example, although Skeeter is basically an honest person, he manipulates situations for personal gain. Parents may wish to discuss the real-life consequences of this, and consider whether manipulation of this kind is acceptable depending on the situation.