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Night at the Museum

Have you ever wondered what happens in a museum after dark after everyone leaves? Well, Night at the Museum tells you in a fun-filled romp that will be sure to entertain both kids and adults, though the kids, I think, are going to enjoy it more.

Ben Stiller, who seems to come out in just about everything these days, stars as Larry Daley, a divorced dad who has more imagination than brains. All he wants is to make one of his inventions work, but in the meantime he can't hold down a job and impress his young son Nick or his ex-wife Rebecca. In fact, he's about to get kicked out of his apartment again and be forced to move away from them.

In desperation, he gets a job as a night watchman at the New York Museum of Natural History. The current watchmen, played by Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs, are about to be laid off by the curator (Ricky Gervais), so they're searching for someone to take their place. However, the night shift at the museum is much more exciting than Larry might have thought.  Due to an Egyptian artifact that's in the museum, everything comes to life after the lights go out ... including a tyrannosaurus-Rex skeleton, a display of Huns from the days of Genghis Khan, and even a wax figure of Teddy Roosevelt (played very well by Robin Williams).

Night at the Museum is a fun movie that, as is often the case in movies like this, has a message about trust and responsibility. It doesn't overwhelm the movie though, which has a lot of fun special effects both big and small (a tiny cowboy out of a diorama, played by Owen Wilson, and a centurion out of the Roman empire just about steal the show).

It becomes a little cliched at the end, when it turns out the old nightwatchmen aren't quite what they seem to be. Also there's a love interest for our hero, played by Carla Gugino, who goes through the tired routine of being attracted to him, then rejecting him, then coming back to find out it was all a mistake. Those clichés have been played out in movies time and time again, and are quite frankly not going to go away anytime soon.

The movie has a lot of energy to it, kids are going to love the special effects, and adults will enjoy some of the in-jokes as well as the fact that its very family-friendly (no curse words or any kind of real violence). For anyone with kids, or if you just want to kick back and enjoy something without having to think about it all that much, Night at the Museum is for you.

3starGood461/2

 

Night at the Museum
runs about 110 minutes, and is rated PG.