Release date (wide): Dec. 25, 2008 … Overall: B- … Teens: C- … Story: C-.
The movie will open in 3,681 theaters on its Christmas opening day.
Box office tracking information:
Starring: Adam Sandler, Keri Russell, Guy Pearce, Richard Griffiths, Courteney Cox, Lucy Lawless, Teresa Palmer, Russell Brand
Director: Adam Shankman
Screenwriter: Matt Lopez, Tim Herlihy
Producer: Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Andrew Gunn
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
For me, seeing this film for the first time on the new Ultra screen (a 70 x 30-foot development in Orland Park that seems to represent the “Green Monster” of cineplex screens), was an eye-popping experience. But that is just because of the screen and has nothing to do with the movie.
Adam Sandler stars as Skeeter, the son of a man who owns a small, family hotel business. Sandler always has to begin movies as a kid (since his character never grows up, we might as well think of him as kid from the start). Skeeter’s father is forced to sell the hotel but strikes a deal with the new owner, Mr. Nottingham, to keep Skeeter on. Actually, the deal was that he would “run” the place, but he ends up being a building superintendent, changing light bulbs, and so on.
His sister (Courteney Cox) is a principal who needs to go for a job interview in another state. This forces her to leave her two kids and their bug-eyed guinea pig with Skeeter. He impresses them with bedtime stories that are creative enough, I suppose. But, when events in the stories, made up by the kids, start coming to pass in Skeeter’s life the following day, he gets the idea of asking for a hundred million dollars, for instance, or kissing a beautiful damsel in distress (Teresa Palmer) whom he rescues, the daughter of Mr. Nottingham.
This damsel is also dating Skeeter’s nemesis at the hotel, who because of family ties, is the apparent heir to the hotel fortune. But Mr. Nottingham likes some of Skeeter’s ideas and so gives him a chance to prove himself, which of course leads to the idea of writing a corporate triumph into the stories. But he has his hands full with the two kids and his attempts to win the affections of Jill (Keri Russell), who runs the green school that will be torn down to make room for the new hotel and also takes care of Skeeter’s sister’s kids by day. How convenient that paths cross like this!
Anyway, all the 8-year-olds in the theater were laughing quite well and quite often during this movie. It has nothing for adults: even the romance is like Skeeter bringing in a glass slipper and trying it on Jill at the Hollywood happy ending. Furthermore, bikinis and cleavage are perhaps too prevalent for the youngest viewers.