Some things come in pairs: creepy kids in your abandoned-hotel hallway, albino assassins in your Matrix, and movies with similar premises. Baz Luhrmann famously spurned the trend when he abandoned his Alexander the Great biopic in the wake of Oliver Stone’s box office bomb, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from turning out matching high-concept movies on a regular basis.
To help you differentiate between these family-friendly fantasties, we’ve broken both movies down to key components. Two movies go in, only one comes out.
Inkheart: “A young girl discovers her father has an amazing talent to bring characters out of their books and must try to stop a freed villain from destroying them all, with the help of her father, her aunt, and a storybook’s hero.”
Bedtime Stories: “A family comedy about a hotel handyman whose life changes when the lavish bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew start to magically come true.”
Inkheart: Brendan Fraser.
Bedtime Stories: Adam Sandler.
Is this even a contest? Advantage: Inkheart.
Inkheart: Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Andy Serkis, a unicorn.
Bedtime Stories: Guy Pearce, Lucy Lawless, Adam Sandler (he’s in all his own stories—how meta!).
I love Antipodeans as much as the next person, but if you think I’m betting against Helen Mirren and a unicorn, you have another thing coming. Advantage: Inkheart.
Inkheart: A ferret that makes money.
Bedtime Stories: a guinea pig with enormous eyeballs.
Ironically, not just descriptions of the two leading men. Advantage: Inkheart.
You Know It’s Whimsical When:
Inkheart: Your fictional best friend informs you that your sworn enemy is on his way to kidnap your child to force you to carry out his nefarious deeds.
Bedtime Stories: Candy falls from the sky!
Who doesn’t love a nefarious deed? Advantage: Inkheart.
You know it’s Action When:
Inkheart: Paul Bettany twirls fire!
Bedtime Stories: Adam Sandler jumps a dozen elephants in a chariot.
Verdict withheld until information is obtained regarding how much of his own fire-twirling Paul Bettany actually did.
You Can Look Forward To:
Inkheart: Any time Helen Mirren opens her mouth.
Bedtime Stories: Guy Pearce and Lucy Lawless in luau garb, at a piano.
I’m sorry, I have to know what that Hawaiian thing is about. It haunts my dreams. Advantage: Bedtime Stories.
WINNER: INKHEART, by a landslide.
Not that this should influence your decision! In fact, go see Bedtime Stories, and then tell me what Lawless and Pearce were doing at that piano. I have to know.
Bedtime Stories Trailer: