Adam Sandler’s infectiously comic style has made him popular with audiences and he can be a fine dramatic actor, too, as Punch-Drunk Love proved. But, inevitably, his public popularity does not extend to critics for whom noteworthy screen humour needs subtitles to be significant.
Here, Sandler is at his comic best playing hotel handyman Skeeter Bronson whose life changes when the bedtime stories he invents for his young niece and nephew (attractively played by Laura Ann Kesling and Jonathan Morgan Heit) filter into his own real life.
There are three “bedtime stories” brought to humorous life by Sandler and director Adam Shankman. Sandler enjoys himself as a Western hero, a medieval serf seeking to rise above his lowly station and in a cruelly funny Star Wars parody, paralleled by his real life battle against rotter Kendall (Guy Pearce) for the favours of their hotel-owner employer Barry Nottingham (played with appropriate comic weight by Richard Griffiths).
While the outcome may never be in doubt, reaching the requisite happy ending is terrific family fun thanks to Sandler’s inventive foolery and considerable natural charm which makes him an engaging character even when behaving really stupidly.
Everyone else enters into the light-hearted spirit of the affair and while some colleagues complained about Russell Brand as Sandler’s British friend and fellow employee, just consider the alternative — Jonathan Ross.