In reality: Skeeter Bronson is a handyman in a hotel, in which he's been working for 25 years. Ever since his dad owned and ran it. In fact, when his dad sold the hotel to Mr. Nottingham (starting a hotel empire), Skeeter was promised to one day run it. Or so he hoped. You see, despite being a fabulous worker for the same hotel (well, two different buildings, but that's beside the point) he has been recently passed up to be the manager of the third building in that specific hotel's lineage within the empire.
Meanwhile, Skeeter's sister, Wendy, needs to travel to Arizona in order to find a Job. She asks Skeeter to watch over her two kids during the night, while Wendy's friend Jill takes the day shift.
With nothing to do at the kids' home, Skeeter starts to tell bedtime stories in order to entertain the kids. These stories vary in theme, from Ancient Greece to Sci-Fi. The kids often throw in events to mix up the story, coming up with better stuff than Skeeter's Real Life events. When the events the kids throw into Skeeter's story affect Skeeter in real life, Skeeter uses this to his advantage.
This film is entirely unrelated to the 1979 Game Show produced by Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley. Nor does it have anything to do with the Madonna album of the same name. And most especially not related with the similarly named YouTube series, which is definitely not for children either.Also unrelated to the 1964 David Niven and Marlon Brando film, Bedtime Story.
This work provides examples of:
- Betty and Veronica: Blonde, sweet heiress Nicole vs. the practical brown-haired teacher Jill.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Skeeter. Just watch the scene where he introduces Mr. Nottingham to the audience.
- It only makes sense that another Cloudcuckoolander, Mickey, has to "translate" for him after his tongue gets stung by a bee at Mr. Nottingham's party.
- Cool Uncle: Skeeter tries to be this to his niece and nephew.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Kendall. Seriously, the guy wants to blow up a school to make a new hotel, going over the foreman's head to check the building when Wendy can't find Bobbi and Patrick, who were in said school that was going to get blown up, and taunts Skeeter repeatedly throughout the film just because his dad's hotel wouldn't have stayed open without Mr. Nottingham's intervention.
- Derailed Fairy Tale: The kids interrupt Skeeter's stories with their own wild ideas— with the added twist that everything they suggest actually happens.
- Diabolus ex Machina: Happens In-Universe in Skeeter's last story. After he wins in his story, the kids add that he gets incinerated, because, apparently, it's more real, much to his frustration.
- Happily Ever After: Happens, but not in the way you expect.
- Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Subverted in the first story. In other stories Skeeter keeps trying this, but the kids keep interjecting, up to "ruining" his final story.
- Idea Bulb: Skeeter is fixing the wiring on a lamp, and it just happens to come on when he realizes that the kids control the stories.
- It's Been Done: Kendall's theme for the new hotel was going to be rock and roll, but when Skeeter points out how the Hard Rock hotel has run on this theme for years, Mr. Nottingham gives Skeeter a chance to think up a better theme that can get him in charge.
- Jerkass: Kendall and Aspen.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Skeeter has shades of this; although he's sarcastic, rude, selfish and defiant, he's still a hard worker, kind to his niece and nephew, helps Violet when she's mobbed by paparazzi, and ultimately saves the school and rescues the kids.
- Large Ham: Guy Pearce seems to be having entirely too much fun as Kendall.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Kendall and his girlfriend, who relentlessly taunt and mock Skeeter throughout the film, end up as the staff of Skeeter's new hotel at the end.
- Malaproper: Patrick, being a young child, has some gems like "incineratated" and "underdemeciated". The first clue that the stories are affecting events in the real world is when other people start using the same malapropisms.
- Meat Versus Veggies: Skeeter's sister Wendy raises her kids on a strict vegetarian diet, e.g. a gluten-free wheatgrass cake that nobody eats at Bobbi's birthday party. Skeeter has trouble making them breakfast using various foods from her kitchen, asking "Doesn't your mother have tastebuds?", and later gets them burgers for dinner.
- Mocking Music: After the kids finish a story that has Skeeter's character set on fire and disintegrated, all the songs on Skeeter's radio have to do with fire: "Disco Inferno," "Eternal Flame," "I'm On Fire," and others.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: Skeeter finishes his first tale with his character getting eaten by alligators.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Skeeter telling the kids that there are no happy endings near the beginning gets him fired near the end after the kids make a story with a bad ending, saying they want their story to be "real".
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Teresa Palmer plays Violet Nottingham: a young, blond 20-something hotel heiress celebutante notorious for partying and winding up in the tabloids.
- Her father, Barry, too: a hotel billionaire with an extreme fear of germs.
- Pet the Dog: When Violet watches the kids for a minute early in the film, she is very nice, treats them well, and takes an interest in their romantic life. It is an early sign that Violet isn't a bad person, just a bit of a spoiled Daddy's girl with tabloid issues.
- Posthumous Character: Skeeter's father, Marty Bronson, who acts as The Narrator.
- Rain of Something Unusual: The children that Skeeter is telling a story to interrupt his tale with gumball rain. Because the stories supposedly comes to life, Skeeter is caught in the middle of a gumball rainfall when he's driving home. The camera reveals that it's the result of a gumball lorry crashing into a pillar on the road above him.
- Romantic False Lead: Violet
- Runs on Ignorance: The stories can only affect Skeeter if the additions are from people who don't know that it affects his real life.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Kendall.
- Waking Non Sequitur: Mickey screams "I'm innocent!" after waking himself up with an attack of his "sleep panic disorder".
- Where Are They Now
- Barry Nottingham becomes the new school nurse for Webster Elementary after going to medical school.
- Mickey and Violet get married, taking over Barry's hotel empire.
- Skeeter and Jill officially get married.
- At the same time as Bugsy the guinea pig, who goes on to have a lot of big-eyed babies.
- Kendall and Aspen end up working for Skeeter at his hotel.