Release Date: December 22nd, 2006 by 20th Century Fox.
The Cast: Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Ricky Gervais, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Kim Raver, Mizuo Peck, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Robin Williams, Jake Cherry, Patrick Gallagher.
Directed by Shawn Levy.
BASIC PREMISE: When Larry (Stiller) accepts a job as a night watchman at the Museum of Natural History, he discovers that the exhibits come to life.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Opening both in IMAX and regular theaters, Night at the Museum doesnít have any fresh ideas, but at least it will entertain kids with mostly juvenile humor while keeping adults mildly engaged . Ben Stiller gives a rather bland performance as Larry, a father who wants to impress his son (Cherry) by, finally, finding a stable job. The other watchmen, played by the hilarious Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyck and Bill Cobbs, leave him alone at night along with a special book with special instructions. Little does he know that, once the sun sets, the museum exhibits come to life which is also when the plot itself kicks into full gear. Larry meets different people from history such as Teddy Roosevelt (Williams), Sakajawea (Peck), Octavius (Coogan), and a cowboy (Wilson) from the Wild West. A T-Rex also comes to life in skeleton form as well a lion a peacock and a mischievous monkey named Dexter. Dexter and Larry have some hilarious scenes together, although thereís one disgusting one where Dexter pees on him. Attila the Hun (Gallagher) has a few funny moments as well, such as when he breaks out in tears. Not surprisingly, Larry falls in love with a museum tour guide (Gugino) after just one cup of coffee. She doesnít believe him when he tries to tell her about the museumís secret. To add more tension to the plot, screenwriters Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon include an evil scheme involving the three other security guards and, of course, Larry must be the one to stop them. Fortunately, directory Shawn Levy does a decent job behind the camera by including plenty of fast-paced scenes and special-effects which look even more impressive on an IMAX screen.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 1
IN A NUTSHELL: Fast-paced and lively, but unsurprising. Delightfully entertaining for kids.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (2nd Run)
The "N" Menu