Night At The Museum

Night At The Museum

**

Reviewed by: Martin Gray

Take a couple of A-list stars, a few veterans, a best-selling book and state-of-the-art CGI and a great movie isn't too much of a reach.

To be specific, cast Ben Stlller and Robin Williams, add in Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney, plonk into a realisation of Milan Trenc's 1993 children's book, turn on the computers and we should have a fun watch.

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So why isn't this tale of museum guard Larry (Stiller) finding out that the exhibits come to life, and protecting their independence when thieves try to steal the artefact that animates them, better? I had a terrrible time staying awake for this film, so bored was I. Stiller sleepwalks through the role of a divorcee out to prove to his kid that he really isn't a deadbeat dad (oh surprise, his tooth-rottingly sweet boy thinks he's great!). Williams is creepy - he's meant to be cuddly - as a wax version of Teddy Roosevelt. Van Dyke and Rooney try to inject some character into their underwritten turns as embittered security guards (there's a third guard, played by one Bill Cobbs who, as he's so much-less well-known than anyone else, and the only black member of the cast, is likely a sop to demographics; he's fine). Owen Wilson is wasted and cameo colleague Steve Coogan looks embarrassed.

There are a couple of pretty funny moments but for the most part director Shawn Levy's comedy struggles to raise a wry smile. (Levy directed Steve Martin's Pink Panther remake, surely that's fair warning.)

Night at the Museum is efficient, when it should be magical. It's One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing when it should be Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I can't see this achieving classic status, it's the type of enjoyable-ish film you forget by the time the cinema car park is reached. The audience seemed happy, though the most popular moments linked to CGI trickery rather than script or performance.

Night At The Museum? I'd rather have a day at the dentists.

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Reviewed on: 04 Jan 2007
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Exhibits come alive in comic romp.
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Director: Shawn Levy

Writer: Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon

Starring: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Ricky Gervais, Carla Gugino, Jake Cherry, Kim Raver, Patrick Gallagher, Rami Malek

Year: 2006

Runtime: 108 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

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