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Raam Tarat

Published December 26th, 2006 | by Raam Tarat

Night At The Museum Review

Classification: PG Director: Shawn Levy Rating: 2.5/5

A crescendo of sorts is reached for ‘isms’… Stiller-isms to be precise at Night at the Museum. We’re becoming slowly but surely accustomed to two types of Ben Stiller. The first where he plays some inanely crazy off-the-wall character that’s more akin to Ren and Stimpy than your typical comic book fare… Case in point: Zoolander, Dodgeball. On the other hand we have the eternal wannabe, and his confused gait as has been seen in the likes of Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly et al. In this movie he consummately plays the latter.

In the form of the perennial family Happy Holidays movie we have this comedy-actioner, which has Stiller as the night watchman in a museum that sees all its’ inhabitants, artefacts and treasures come to life at night. In a nutshell – that is the story… Oh and he takes over the job from Cecile, a.k.a. Bert, a.k.a. Dick van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs. The thesps are fabulously sinister as they know he’s in for far more than he bargained for in his new job. The thing is, he has to stick it out as his CV is… well… ‘chequered’ and he has his perennially disappointed son to live up to.

A mellifluence of Jumanji and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, this sees Stiller go through the motions once again in an animal extravaganza cum historical fantasy. He seems to be getting a tad stereo-typical as your Average Joe cum loser; as the guy who is borderline / struggling to always ‘make the deal’ or hold onto his partner. In this instance it’s the respect of his son which he’s struggling to retain.

As stated this is Stiller Type II, where we usually see him teasing a monkey, tweaking nipples (usually feline) and contortionistic monologues, usually with an animal, or lo and behold a certain Mr Wilson. Actually, I think it maybe smarmy Owen I’m getting miffed with – he’s been playing his cocksure self since the inception of irony…

There are an abundance of cameos here from the likes of Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan and Ricky Gervais as the Museum Director. Gervais’ cameo is a little awkward, and he seems to play, well, Ricky Gervais. Is this movie simply full of one trick ponies!?? Thankfully nope, it is fun, but does have a notion of having seen it all before. The stunning Carla Gugini adds freshness to the story and Williams lifts proceedings (and spirits) no end. Wilson is annoying, but Stiller needs to stay away from roles that are predictable, reliable… they only lead to staidness and yawns. Formulaic is the word, but still fabulous for the kids – very young uns.


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