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February 26, 2021
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Night at the Museum
(2007-01-05)
(wgvu) - Night at the Museum:
When I first saw the poster for Night at the Museum I thought it might be a cool movie. It showed a man standing from behind in the Museum of Natural History with the Tyrannosaurus Rex crouching over him, and other exhibits glowing with life. There were no credits, just the title sketched along the visuals. But then I saw the preview around Thanksgiving time, and found out it was a Ben Stiller vehicle, and my excitement withered. Which made me wonder, what is it with Ben Stiller? Why is it that I don't want to see his movies? Well, let's just list the ones he's done over the past few years
School for Scoundrels Meet the Fockers Dodgeball Envy, that was a real winner Starsky and Hutch Along Came Polly Duplex The Royal Tennenbaums oh, wait, The Royal Tennenbaums is one of his great movies, way back in 2001. So for the past five years it's been ca-ca for Ben Stiller. That's why I don't want to see his movies. Now, I didn't mention his cameos, because he has a second career in that dept., Anchorman, Sledge, Nobody Knows Anything, Orange County, or the recent Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny. He was pretty good in Anchorman. And he has been in some good movies, Permanent Midnight, where he actually acts, Flirting with Disaster, There's Something About Mary, Your Friends and Neighbors, Keeping the Faith, and Meet the Parents. But the last five years, boy, haven't been good ones

Anyway, if you look at Night at the Museum as a kids movie, it's decent mediocre fare, that the children will love, and it's playing on IMAX so you get to see the giant Tyrannasaurus Rex skeleton up close and personal, so go on, bring the family to the movies and the youngsters might enjoy themselves, even if I didn't.


Stiller is Larry Daley, a guy who is a dreamer, and an aspiring inventor. But his schemes fall flat, and his ex-wife is getting tired of it. She's played by Kim Raver, with the gorgeous eyes, which look even more beautiful on IMAX. The ex is upset because their son is upset that dad's such a loser. Larry is about to lose his lease for back rent, unless he can get a job, and he does so, luckily, as the night guard at the Museum of Natural History. The job used to belong to three, elderly gentleman, played by Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Bill Cobbs. They're being down-sized, and they leave Larry with a briefcase of instructions. On the first night Larry falls asleep on the job, and when he wakes up he finds that the exhibits have all come to life, including Attila the Hun, a group of Neanderthals, Sacajawea and Louis and Clark, and Teddy Roosevelt, who is played by Robin Williams. And the Tyrannasaurus Rex, and a group of slavering African Lions are on the prowl. Larry freaks out, but stays on the job to gain the respect of his son. In the process, he meets a beautiful historian named Rebecca, who is played by Carla Gugino, who is working on a dissertation on Sacajawea. And Larry soon finds himself with a challenge that may give him the self-respect that he needs.

Well, you already know what I think of this turkey, it's a big turkey! The weird thing about seeing this on IMAX, is that in many scenes the pancake makeup on the actors was apparent. Williams is ok, but it's a throwaway role. And what would a Ben Stiller movie be without an Owen Wilson cameo? And it's more than a cameo, it's just an uncredited role. Guess he's greater than Steve Coogan.
The characters are as artificial as the wax dummies in the museum, the comedy isn't funny, and great actors like Cugino, Cobbs, and Coogan are wasted. Oddly enough, the two who play right are Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney. They know how to do broad comedy, and it's nice to see the old gentlemen in a new movie. But they can't save Night at the Museum.
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