With Denver snowed in and our holiday visiting prospects dashed, Stacy and I decided to take the girls to see Night at the Museum on Christmas day. It did not disappoint. Besides the PR campaign’s complete lack of showcasing Carla Gugino’s involvement in the film, a fact that Jon says is a big reason not to go see the movie, it looked decent in the previews. It did not disappoint. Even at his most unbelievably awkward, Ben Stiller can still get a laugh from me. There were a few awkward moments, but Stiller got to showcase some of his comedic talents beyond being that guy we all like to cringe at. Robin Williams was remarkably reserved as Teddy Roosevelt. Limiting him to a single character with no zany voices really worked out. Owen Wilson (uncredited!?) was remarkably tolerable as the miniature cowboy hell bent on overtaking the neighboring Roman diorama. Perhaps the biggest surprise was seeing how spry Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Bill Cobbs were. This was also the first time I have had the pleasure to see The Office executive producer Ricky Gervais onscreen. Or at least I thought it was. Reading his IMDB entry I found that I had already seen him as a guest star on Alias.
Stiller’s Larry Daley copes rather well with the shock of the museum displays coming to life. More interesting is his progression from get-rich-quick schemer to dependable leader and responsible dad with romantic prospects in the shapely form of Ms. Gugino’s Rebecca. Even William’s Roosevelt finds romance in the movie. We see Larry risk losing his first steady job in years, discover his inner strength, and defeat the treacherous villains with the aid of the entire museum before the end. Besides a couple of scenes that kept Vicki’s feet nervously kicking, such as the T-Rex skeleton bearing down on Larry before he realizes Rexy just wants to play fetch, the movie is an adventure anyone can enjoy.
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