1 hour, 48 minutes
PG Parental Guidance Suggested.
for mild action, language and brief rude humor
Ben Stiller ... Larry Daley
Carla Gugino ... Rebecca
Dick Van Dyke ... Cecil
Mickey Rooney ... Gus
Bill Cobbs ... Reginald
Jake Cherry ... Nick Daley
Ricky Gervais ... Dr. McPhee
Robin Williams ... Teddy Roosevelt
Kim Raver ... Erica Daley
Patrick Gallagher ... Attila the Hun
Steve Coogan ... Octavius
Desperately in need of a job, Larry Daley (Ben Stiller "Zoolander") takes the only one available to him: night watchman at New York's Museum of Natural History. He needs the job to pay his rent so he can keep seeing his son, Nick (Jake Cherry "Friends with Money"), but he doesn't know much about history so, in his first day at the museum, he follows a tour group led by pretty guide Rebecca (Carla Gugino "Spy Kids"), hoping to pick up a few pointers. He is introduced to the unpleasant and uncompromising museum director, Mr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais "For Your Consideration"). Then his three predecessors (Dick Van Dyke "Mary Poppins", Mickey Rooney "The Black Stallion" and Bill Cobbs "Air Bud") give him an instruction manual and a number to call if things get out of hand. Finally at night, Larry is all alone in the museum and strange things start to happen, like skeletons and wax statues coming to life. Soon, he's conversing with Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams "RV"), getting tied up by a miniature Wild West hotshot (Owen Wilson "Wedding Crashers"), and fleeing from Atilla the Hun.
The movie, directed by Shawn Levy ("Cheaper by the Dozen") is put together like a live-action cartoon. At times, it feels like" Jumanji" that starred Robin Williams and there are also some obvious borrowings from Gulliver's Travels. What's missing, however, is a sense of magic, heart or soul.
Ben Stiller does a lot of running around, occasionally falling down or bumping into things. His "romance" with Carla Gugino passes so quickly that if you blink, you'll miss it. Owen Wilson and Robin Williams don't have very much to do either, but it was nice seeing Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney back on the screen.
This is a pleasant enough movie for families to see together, but it's only passable entertainment. It did look particularly impressive on the giant I-MAX screens as it will on large format television sets.