Personal Finance

Movie Review: Bedtime Stories

I recently saw Adam Sandler’s “Bedtime Stories”.  To get the obvious first question out of the way, yes, Mr. Cheap watches children’s movies.  And, no, I don’t have any kids.  I get a tear in my eye at the “When She Loved Me” sequence in Toy Story 2.  I watch “chick flicks” in addition to the manly genres of Science Fiction and Westerns.  Heck, I can’t think of a genre of movie I *won’t* watch.

Mr. Cheap is more complicated than you think, thank you very much!

On almost every level, Bedtime Stories was truly terrible.  That’s par for the course for Mr. Sandler, but in this outing he had Xena, Uncle Dursley and the delicious Keri Russell to work with, and he STILL made mess of it!

Setting aside that it’s a bad movie (and it is), the reason I thought it was worthwhile to post about is that it makes some strong assertions in topic areas we blog about.  Given that these are being made to children, and shaping their views on careers, money and economic issues, I think it’s worthwhile to consider.

At the beginning of the movie, Adam Sandler’s father sells his hotel to a British scoundrel because the father is running it into the ground.  We’re lead to believe that the father is virtuous for “caring about guests”, while the brit is scum for running profitable businesses.  The father wrangles a very half-hearted promise from the buyer that Adam Sandler will be considered to run the hotel when he gets older.

Fast forward a few decades and Adam Sandler is the virtuous custodian who pays for elderly drunks’ mini-bar tab  from the evil bureaucrat that insists customers pay for booze they’ve consumed.  The next hour and a half is Adam Sandler’s character whining that he’s worked hard as the custodian, so should now be made the boss of the entire massively-renovated far-larger hotel.  He demonstrates none of the skills to actually DO this job, and doesn’t seem to have any interest in gaining those skills (or working and taking a risk by starting his own hotel).  He just whines and whines, until he figures out his niece and nephew’s bedtime stories can alter reality, so he starts trying to use MAGIC to get what he wants.  I suspect he’d take right away to “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” or “The Secret” if he ever read either.

After using magic extensively (and finding it doesn’t work), at the end of the movie (sorry to spoil it for you), he’s suddenly magically running his OWN hotel!  So whine enough about how much you deserve something, trust in some kooky magic, and you’ll get what you want, or something awfully similar.

In the early part of the movie, he’s the custodian and is treated badly by the “higher ups” at the hotel.  At the end of the movie, he’s the higher up, and for some reason the former higher-ups are now working as his custodial staff while HE treats THEM badly.  Much as the ending of “Night at the Museum” teaches our children, the perfect punishment for villains is to make them janitors.  Of course, there’s no chance that it’s a necessary job, deserving its own dignity and respect.  Nope, let’s teach the kids that janitors are bad people, who deserve their “continuous suffering” because of past misdeeds (and it’s important that they’re treated poorly by those around them:  as long as the custodian isn’t Adam Sandler).

Don’t waste your time watching this, but more importantly, please don’t poison young minds by exposing them to it.  Unless, of course, you want to teach those young minds that all businesses are run by greedy, evil people, that you get what you want in life by wishing for it (instead of through planning, discipline or working hard), and it’s important to reach a status level in society that lets you feel better about yourself by treating other people badly.

6 replies on “Movie Review: Bedtime Stories”

I desperately want to agree with you. Except. Reality (as I’ve experienced it to date) is *not* necessarily that discipline, hard work and competence are what bring you to the top (although that does happen, thankfully, too) but as often as not it’s a version of “wishing” – ie., wanting it, so scheming, schmoozing, not saying what sometimes needs to be said in order to make something work better …. you get the idea… in order to get what has not been earned, in a career. Maybe the story is designed to be like the fairy tales of old – a soft introduction to the world or realpolitic.

Sorry that comments were blocked for this post for two days. I’m at my parents (struggling with their dial-up) and SOMEHOW turned off comments when I fixed a typo (I’d left the “g” off of planning in the last paragraph).

Sorry again!

Nancy: I hear where you’re comming from, but I’d say scheming and schmoozing are closer to work than wishing (they were a lot closer to work when I’ve been forced to do them in the past!)

My 6 year old would like to point out that it rained gumballs in the movie! She loved that. Most of the rest of it didn’t stick with her at all, except that the kids were his nephew and niece and that he didn’t get what he wished for, it was all about the kids.

I have have no opinion because I didn’t see it. I’m not generally a big Adam Sandler fan.

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