The “or out” is a dead giveaway for the wacky high jinks about to ensue. Before long Larry is being chased by the T-Rex, which for no discernable reason has the instincts of a dog; peed on by once-stuffed monkeys; and attacked by Lilliputian figures (Owen Wilson and Steven Coogan) from dioramas of the Old West and ancient Rome. And, most importantly, Teddy Roosevelt on his bully steed, played by Robin Williams, comes to life to explain it all.
The Williams connection here is fortuitous, as Night at the Museum is basically Jumanji (in which Williams also starred) set in a museum. This is not a compliment, since Jumanji was a popular but not particularly good movie. Night at the Museum also lifts from a number of disenfranchised-Dad movies, including Mrs. Doubtfire, in which Williams also appeared. (For the record Mrs. Doubtfire was actually pretty good.)
Night at the Museum, on the other hand, is an over-produced, overly frenetic, obviously derivative family adventure, chockfull of celebrity cameos and gigabyte upon gigabyte of CGI everything, from Tyrannosaurs Rex bones to wooly mammoths to Galileo (or perhaps it was Copernicus), all of which accrues to nary a single original, or worse, funny moment. If you have very young children drop them off and do some shopping.
Cast: Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Jake Cherry, Ricky Gervais and Robin Williams
Director: Shawn Levy
Screenwriters: Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon
Producers: Shawn Levy, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan
Rating: PG for mild action, language and brief rude humor
Release date: December 20, 2006