Sunday, January 07, 2007

Night at the Museum (2006)

1492 Pictures, 21 Laps Entertainment
Director: Shawn Levy

Start with a museum, add one unsuspecting but well-meaning loser and the fact that everything in the museum comes to life at night, and hilarity ought to ensue. Unfortunately, this is a Ben Stiller movie, which means we're treated to a series of poorly-executed bits of physical comedy combined with thinly-disguised penis jokes (the cowboy, Jed).

Despite the promising premise, Night at the Museum fails to deliver. Although the development of the premise is alright (once you get past Stiller's attempts at comedy), it seems that about halfway through the script, the writers suddenly realized that they had no plot, and had to tack on one about the previous night guards!

The rest of the movie suffered from inconsistancy. The wax Teddy Roosevelt remembers his making, but no one else does, meanwhile Sacagawea has memories from her historical counterpart? The Egpytian mummy has been restored to full flesh-and-bone, and was apparently aware enough to learn English while in the British Museum, but the replicas of Genghis Khan and the other Huns didn't? (Ok, so they weren't in the British Museum, but come on). Oh, and the Pharoah can also speak Hun, despite being born centuries (millenia?) before the Huns existed (maybe he learned that at the British Museum, too). And Octavius speaks English, too. (At least the kid—of course there's a kid—questions why the mummy can speak English, even if the answer is ridiculous).

Sadly, Robin Williams, while giving a decent performance as Roosevelt, can't save the movie. Nor can Dick van Dyke or Mickey Rooney, although getting to see a crazed van Dyke was fun.

All in all, don't bother with this movie. It should have been much more, much better, much funnier than it was. It doesn't have to be a political commentary or insight into the human condition, but it should at least be funny.

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