Bedtime Stories

  • Review Date: December 24, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Sandler tames his jokes for family-friendly fantasy flick.
  • Review Date: December 24, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 100 minutes





What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Shows the importance of family and working together for a common goal.

Positive role models

Strong family connections: A single man gets closer to his niece and nephew and helps his sister. Characters work together to save a school from closing.

Violence & scariness

Some cartoony gun violence in the "wild, wild West" bedtime story.

Sexy stuff

A couple of kisses and some benign flirting -- including a bedtime-story scene of a man and a woman in a hot tub (clothed). References are made to a Paris Hilton-type heiress' "reputation" for having a "good time" with guys she meets at clubs.


Mild, especially for a movie starring Sandler: "butt kiss," "shoot," "jerk," "shut up," "stink."


Featured brands include Ferrari, Toyota (Prius), Disney (Buzz Lightyear), and Apple (Mac).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Grown-ups have cocktails and champagne at a party.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, unlike most Adam Sandler movies, this one is actually aimed at kids, so expect a lot of interest from elementary schoolers on up. The good news is that, also unlike most Sandler movies, there aren't any crass jokes, and both language ("butt kiss" is as wild as it gets) and sexuality (a couple of fairy-tale kisses and one brief scene of a clothed man and woman in a hot tub) are mild. The violence is also minor and mostly cartoonish, although there's some gunplay in the Wild West bedtime story.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Adam Sandler plays Skeeter Bronson, a hotel handyman who agrees to babysit his newly divorced sister Wendy's (Courteney Cox) two kids -- with the help of Wendy's friend Jill (Kerri Russell) -- while she goes to an out-of-state job interview. While he's taking care of his niece and nephew, Skeeter begins a nightly tradition of telling bedtime stories the children contribute to, only to realize the next day that even outlandish aspects of the story are coming true. Seizing the opportunity, Skeeter uses the magical tales to get a shot at running the hotel his father once owned -- if he can prove himself worthier than the hotel's brown-nosing manager, Kendall (Guy Pearce).

Is it any good?


After a long list of crude movies that have kept Sandler secure in his reign as the king of drunken-frat boy comedies, this is his first real family film (his 2002 Hanukkah comedy Eight Crazy Nights is animated, but it's not for kids). The good news is that the movie, though not particularly original, is sure to crack up the kiddies (what other purpose does the bug-eyed guinea pig have?) -- and it's pleasant enough for parents to enjoy, too. And die-hard Sandler fans will even find a few of his signature touches -- his goofy scat-talking, a beautiful blond to ogle (Teresa Palmer), a silly sidekick (a scene-stealing Russell Brand), and even a Rob Schneider cameo.

That said, as a fantasy comedy, BEDTIME STORIES falls far short of a family classic. Cute? Yes. But memorable? Not really. It's no Princess Bride. What is remarkable is that, stripped of all his graphic humor, Sandler is capable of starring in a comedy that's appropriate for even young kids. And utlimately, it's hard not to be charmed by the message that you should never stop trying to make your dreams a reality.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this movie is different from most of Sandler's other films. He isn't known for making family-friendly films -- why do you think he decided to make this one? Is it a success without his signature crass jokes?

  • Families can also discuss what makes a good fairy tale. How does the film itself, along with each bedtime story, follow the storyline of a traditional fairy tale?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 25, 2008
DVD release date:April 7, 2009
Cast:Adam Sandler, Courteney Cox, Keri Russell
Director:Adam Shankman
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild rude humor and mild language.

This review of Bedtime Stories was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bykrisj May 8, 2009

Upset with Disney

I was very upset to see that this movie had women dressed inappropriately - in bikinis - and the language was often crass. I feel that Disney is showing that what they really care about are catering to a large audience so that they can bring in more money. The concern to create movies that can be modest, clean, and funny at the same time is not as important to them as making a blockbuster movie that all ages will view. The concept of this movie could have been so magical and did not need extra "grown up" components in order for it to be interesting, entertaining, creative, and kid-friendly.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byemadeva January 22, 2012

Nice but not for children.

The story is nice but this film is definitely in the upper PG range. Even though the main characters are young children, this is not a film for children. There are scenes showing women in bikinis and low cleavage. There are quite a few scenes with kissing and males referring to women as "hot". I'm quite surprised this is a Disney film. Maybe they are trying to entertain the adults who are watching with the children but I don't agree with that scenario. Anyway, I would skip this one as a film for children.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 10 years old October 18, 2010

Your Child is supposed to be Mature to watch this movie without copying the What To Watch Out For stuff!

As long your child is mature...My only concern is ones that are first grade and under are stupid and they think doing the bad stuff are cool and going to be in jail by Cops, Criminals, and Robbers and this is definitley not PG! It should be PG-13 to R. Tell Mom and Dad which parts were appropriate for anywhere and I'll rate it Iffy for anywhere 8-18+. Should be Third Grade and over...too Questionable for a Second Grade.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Safety and privacy concerns


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Common Sense Kids Action