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Night at the Museum (5/10)

by Tony Medley

Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), a hapless divorced father of a son (Jake Cherry), a guy who can’t hold a job, finally gets one as a night watchman at a museum, replacing longtime guards Cecil (Dick Van Dyke), Gus (Mickey Rooney), and Reginald (Bill Cobbs). Seems simple, but after the three guards leave, when the sun goes down, all the exhibits come to life. Larry has to come to grips with all the mayhem that’s going on, and keep alive in the process.

There is actually a story that goes along with all the gags that aren’t very funny and the special effects, which are quite good. But to tell anything about it would spoil what little suspense there is in the film, so you’ll just have to go see the film if you are that interested.

There are some other big names some as the exhibits, people like Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt, Owen Wilson in an uncredited role as a cowboy, and Brad Garrett (“Everyone Loves Raymond”) as the voice of the Easter Island Head. Stiller’s real life mother, Anne Meara, is in the cast, too, as the employment agent who gets Larry the job at the museum. Williams and Wilson are keeping their reputation intact of being totally unable to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to evaluating scripts. Both are talented actors, but are burned by the material they choose to perform.

The special effects are pretty good, especially the bones of the dinosaur that comes to life every night. But that’s not enough to make a movie that an adult can enjoy. This was very disappointing, unless you happen to be ten years old. If you are a parent with a ten year old, however, you should be aware that the film trivializes some American icons. This is similar to 2006’s “Click,” in that it is a good idea that pretty much fails in translation.

December 22, 2006