Night at the Museum

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Night at the Museum
Review (9/10)
(By Erin Cullin)

Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) has reached a crossroads in his life. An idealist and a dreamer, Larry has spent his life avoiding work in order to pursue a series of failed "get rich quick" schemes. In the process, he has lost his wife and son to a successful Wall Street bond trader and he is about to be evicted from yet another apartment. When he is faced with the prospect of losing his visitation rights to his son, Larry realizes that it is time to put his childish fantasies of fame and fortune aside, and secure a stable job. He unhappily accepts a position as a night watchman at the Museum of Natural History, but quickly realizes that the job that he fears will be mundane and uninspiring is fraught with its own unique "challenges".

Night at the Museum has been the runaway success story of the 2006 holiday film season. It has spent the last three weeks at the top of the box office and has grossed over $250 million dollars worldwide in ticket sales during the three weeks since it has been released. The film's success has been the ultimate Christmas present for the folks at 20th Century Fox and virtually guarantees that we will be seeing Ben Stiller's face in many more films for the foreseeable future.

Night at the Museum is one of the best children's films to be released in theatres in the past several years. It is light and funny, contains no inappropriate scenes or language and includes excellent special effects. Its greatest accomplishment, however, is the fact that it will likely inspire many young moviegoers to introduce themselves to the wonderful world of history. This is a film that attempts to bring history to life (both literally and figuratively) and succeeds nicely. The film also showcases the Museum of Natural Science and History, an attraction which is an absolute must for those of you who are ever fortunate enough to find yourselves visiting New York City with children.

This is not a film that will stun its viewers with any award-winning performances, but that is forgivable because it is not a film that aspires to award-winning status. Ben Stiller delivers his patented performance as the down-in-the dumps loser who, against all odds, ultimately redeems himself. The film also features small but amusing supporting performances by Mickey Rooney and Dick Van Dyke, as well as a surprisingly restrained supporting performance by Robin Williams.

The film also features a supporting performance by Timmins native and former TH&VS drama student Jody Racicot, who appears in the film as one of the cavemen who comes to life when the sun sets on the museum. Racicot has developed a nice career for himself as a character actor in both Canada and the United States, having appeared on television in episodes of The X-Files and Earth: The Final Conflict and in films such as The Tuxedo and Final Destination 3. He has appeared with increasing frequency in large-budget Hollywood films and I have no doubt that Night at the Museum is only one of many successful productions in which we will be seeing his name in the credits.

Night at the Museum is a film that will, without a doubt, eventually be finding its way into many DVD libraries. It is well on its way to achieving the status of a "children's classic", and is a film that I would recommend without hesitation to parents who wish to enjoy a great afternoon or evening at the theatre with their children. Although it is a children's film, its universal humour will appeal to the child in everyone.

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