Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Night at the Museum

It's such a simple premise, you wonder why no one has used it before.

They probably have. But without today's special effects possibilities, it would probably fall pretty two-dimensionally flat.

At night the museum comes alive. That's it. And in this version of that simple premise, Night at the Museum truly does come alive. It's heartwarmingly funny.

Oh, the screenwriters have added some plot device, something about an ancient curse and then the old night watchmen steal the device....oh, but never mind. Thankfully, the director doesn't stray too far from the museum. That's where all the action is.

Ben Stiller is perfect as the father who's been a failure at almost everything he's done. And he wants to shine for his son. However, after the first night when the T-Rex, bones and all, chases him down the hall, he's not so sure. We know he'll go back, and we urge him to: we want to see what happens the second night!

I loved almost every little bit of nonsense thrown at us. Cowboys who can't get along with Romans, Lewis & Clark arguing incessantly while Sacajawea looks for someone to connect with, an Easter Island sculpture who loves verbal wordplay. And there are famous faces all around: Robin Williams, who is actually given something to do as Teddy Roosevelt. Carla Gugino, Ricky Gervais. The best "cameo" type roles, however, were from Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney, who play, devilishly, the old museum watchmen. Keep watching when the credits roll, and you'll see the two of them dance to the soundtrack.

This is a delight of a movie, good for young and old. Thumb's up.


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