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Night at the Museum: Pure Fantastical Fun

In the midst of holiday movies that take themselves too seriously, Night at the Museum, which opens nationwide tomorrow, offers up an alternative fantasy world of fun that will tantalize your kids without putting you to sleep.

Ben Stiller stars as Larry Daley, a single father struggling to find success in his professional life. Facing eviction, Larry accepts a job as night guard at the museum of natural history in order to appease his disapproving wife and earn the affection of his 10-year-old son, Nick.

During his first night on the job, Larry discovers that the museum’s exhibits are under the curse of an ancient artifact, and as a result, come to life each night. He finds himself battling dinosaurs, angry Huns, miniature cowboys and Romans. Larry’s only saving grace is the help of a mannequin of Theodore Roosevelt. As the story progresses, Larry must find a balance between keeping the exhibits at bay, fending off the newly fired night guards, and proving himself to his son. To hear what I thought of the movie,

There are definitely aspects of this movie I would pinpoint as disappointing. The plot is formulaic and incredibly familiar, combining elements from Toy Story, Jumanji, and The Santa Clause, and the heavy borrowing compromises the originality of the plot. While Stiller’s performance is right-on, I couldn’t help but notice that he always seems to play the exact same self-conscious everyman-type character.

However, it should be emphasized that this is a family movie, and one of the better ones I’ve seen in awhile. It’s definitely refreshing to see someone besides Tim Allen in the lead role, and Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, and Ricky Gervais provide a strong comedic supporting cast without blatantly stealing the limelight away from Stiller. I was also pleasantly surprised by child actor Jake Cherry, who gives a solid and sincere performance as Nick.

Overall, this is a great move to take kids to over the holiday break. It has a satisfying blend of action, humor, and magic, and it proves to be entertaining for both children and adults. Plus, it’s a nice change of pace from the overly cheesy Holiday movies we’re bombarded with at this time or year. Night at the Museum will make you laugh instead of making you sick to your stomach.

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