NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

REVIEW BY DAVE SMITH

 

The concept is great, but the film is not. Children should be more entertained by this movie than adults. Admittedly there are some good laughs here and there but they are inconsistent. Ben Stiller is his usual manic deadpan self. Robin Williams is somewhat toned down from his usual manic self. The special effects are well done. One of the treats of this film for me was the casting of Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs as museum security guards who are being let go and are planning to get even. Van Dyke, at age 82, has the most to do and he shows us he still is very mobile both physically and facially. Mickey Rooney at age 87 makes you laugh just looking at him. Bill Cobbs, age 72, has the least to do of the three. Director Shawn Levy should be congratulated for casting actors who are actually old rather than hiring people who don make up to "look old." There are many quality actors up in their years who are still capable of delivering a very good performance. Unfortunately most of the time they are ignored. Stiller's mother, Anne Meara, is cast as an employee of an employment office who sends Stiller to the museum. Her husband, Jerry Stiller, is one of the busiest older generation actors in the business.

There are a lot of cliches in this film, not the least of which has Stiller playing a divorced father who can't get a job and who's about to lose custody of his young son. He is saved by Van Dyke who hires him as a night security guard. Van Dyke, Rooney and Cobb know what happens at night but neglect to tell Stiller. When mayhem breaks lose in the museum as the characters and exhibits come to life, Stiller attempts to deal with it but then decides to quit. He has second thoughts as he thinks perhaps his son might get a kick out of what happens at the museum after dark. The son, played very well by Jack Cherry, is sufficiently impressed and Stiller wins his son's admiration as well as the admiration of a museum docent played by Carla Gugino.

This film is genuinely entertaining but it is uneven in plot and dialogue. Children may not mind this but adults might get a little bored before it's over.

 

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