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"NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM"
(2006) (Ben Stiller, Robin Williams) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None Minor Heavy *Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Extreme None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None Moderate Moderate *Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A divorced parent takes a nighttime security guard job at New York's Museum of Natural History only to learn that all of the figures and attractions there come to life at night.
PLOT:
Larry Daley (BEN STILLER) is an ordinary guy and divorced parent who repeatedly disappoints his ex-wife Erica (KIM RAVER) and their ten-year-old son Nick (JAKE CHERRY) due to his inability to hold down a job, live in one place for long, or get any of his inventions to come to fruition.

Accordingly, and when Erica says he probably shouldn't spend any time with Nick until he settles down and after seeing how Nick is taking after Erica's boyfriend Don (PAUL RUDD), Larry accepts a security guard job at for New York City's Museum of Natural History working for museum director Dr. McPhee (RICKY GERVAIS). There, he not only meets docent Rebecca Hutman (CARLA GUGINO) but also the trio of aged security guards -- Cecil (DICK VAN DYKE), Gus (MICKEY ROONEY) and Reginald (BILL COBBS) -- who he learns he's going to replace.

He also discovers that he's been given the night shift as well as written instructions from Cecil about how to perform the job. Larry isn't pleased, but figures it will be a cakewalk. That is, until he realizes that all of the figures and attractions in the museum come to life at night. Among them is a full-size T-Rex skeleton that wishes to play fetch, various African mammals including a pride of lions, and a key-stealing capuchin monkey by the name of Dexter.

There are also wax figurines of several Neanderthals; Attila The Hun (PATRICK GALLAGHER) and his crew; Lewis and Clark's Indian tracker Sacajawea (MIZUO PECK); miniature diorama figures cowboy Jedidiah (OWEN WILSON) and Roman emperor Octavius (STEVE COOGAN); and former President Teddy Roosevelt (ROBIN WILLIAMS).

The latter becomes Larry's friend who informs him of the workings of the museum, including that Egyptian pharaoh Ahkmenrah (RAMI MALEK) should never be let out of his sarcophagus. Beyond that, he tells Larry he should read up on the various historical figures and animals to figure out how best to deal with them over the ensuing nights. Having experienced just one evening of that, Larry wants to quit. Realizing that will mean he'll never see Nick, however, spurs him on.

From that point on, he must not only deal with the various figures, animals and other attractions that come to life every night, but also some thieves who have their sights set on a valuable Egyptian relic.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's a good bet many will, particularly if they're pre-adolescents.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For mild action, language and brief rude humor.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BEN STILLER plays an average divorced dad who takes a night security job at a museum so as not to disappoint his son. Once he learns that everything comes to life in the museum at night, he must contend with the resultant chaos and zaniness, as well as an attempt by others to steal an ancient relic.
  • CARLA GUGINO plays a museum docent who's focused on Sacajawea.
  • DICK VAN DYKE plays a veteran security guard who gives Larry the night job, but -- along with his cohorts -- has greedy ulterior motives. Enhanced by the museum's spell and despite his age, he strikes and otherwise manhandles Larry when necessary.
  • MICKEY ROONEY plays another guard, a caustic one with a bad attitude toward Larry.
  • BILL COBBS plays the third member of their team.
  • JAKE CHERRY plays Larry's 10-year-old son who's disappointed in his father until he sees the museum come to life.
  • RICKY GERVAIS plays the stuff museum director who isn't pleased with Larry's inability to keep order in the museum at night (being unaware of what really occurs there).
  • ROBIN WILLIAMS plays a wax figure version of Teddy Roosevelt who gives advice to Larry when not pining for Sacajawea.
  • KIM RAVER plays Larry's ex-wife who's concerned about the lack of stability in his life and its effect on their son.
  • PATRICK GALLAGHER plays Attila The Hun who runs amok every night in the museum, terrorizing Larry until the guard figures out how to connect with him.
  • RAMI MALEK plays the friendly Egyptian pharaoh who's finally freed from his sarcophagus.
  • OWEN WILSON plays an Old West diorama figurine who's constantly at odds with Octavius.
  • STEVE COOGAN plays his Roman emperor counterpart who doesn't get along with him.
  • MIZUO PECK plays the Indian guide for Lewis and Clark who laments being trapped inside the display with them every night.
  • PAUL RUDD plays Erica's boyfriend, a bond trader who's impressed her son.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this PG-rated comedy. Profanity consists of a minor expletive, while various colorful phrases are uttered and other behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate.

    Violence consists of various museum figures fighting one another, some guards beating up a man, and various tiny characters trying to inflict harm on a regular-sized human (who's a giant to them). While there's plenty of that (along with various instances of slapstick style material), it's all more chaotic and/or played for comedy and fantasy action than anything resembling graphic realism.

    That said, some of the material (particularly a full-sized T-Rex skeleton chasing after a man) may be somewhat to rather intense for younger kids, especially as such scenes are enhanced by heavily dramatic and/or suspenseful music.

    Some bad attitudes are present, as is some crude humor, while some material involves a divorced dad taking a job so that he doesn't disappoint and will still be allowed to see his 10-year-old son.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, some of the action scenes and their related camera movement might induce such an effect in more sensitive viewers.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Dexter the monkey urinates on Larry from the other side of a gate (we see the urine stream hitting him).
  • Larry mocks Dexter the monkey, commenting on how the primate will go "poo-poo" in a diaper.
  • Larry has a slightly bloody scrape on his cheek and a tiny bloody mark on his lip after an encounter with some bad security guards.
  • Seeing a procession of museum animals passing his taxi, a cabbie wonders aloud who they're going to get to clean up the "doo" (we don't see any).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Gus constantly gives Larry a hard time in a caustic fashion.
  • Jed and Octavius don't get along and are constantly battling until they eventually join forces near the end of the film.
  • Other security guards plot to steal a valuable relic and blame that theft and others on Larry (who they also beat up - all played for comedy).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" might also be unsettling or suspenseful to the youngest of viewers, but probably less so, if at all, to older ones.
  • A museum figure suddenly steps down behind Larry when he passes by, but it's just Cecil in a costume playing a prank on him.
  • Larry wakes up from a nap in the museum at night and notices that a figure is missing from a display. He goes to investigate, only to see the full-size T-Rex skeleton fully alive and drinking from the water fountain. When Larry drops his flashlight in shock, the T-Rex turns, lets out a thunderous roar, and then gives chase. It snaps at him and Larry takes cover behind the circular information counter that the skeleton repeatedly rams with its large head. Larry frantically calls Cecil for help, but all he tells Larry is to read the instructions he earlier gave him. The dinosaur skeleton then lifts part of the information counter away, exposing Larry who reacts in fright. But he then learns that all the dinosaur wants to do is play fetch with one of its rib bones and the scene immediately turns from scary to fun as the dinosaur acts like a big puppy dog wanting the bone.
  • Attila and his men chase after Larry with their swords. Larry ducks into an elevator to escape, but Attila gets his head between the closing doors. However, the elevator then moves, causing Attila's head to go "up" and hit the top of the door (slapstick style).
  • Larry flees one scene only to encounter now alive African mammals, including a number of lions. He runs from them through a faux jungle, where he comes face to face with a boa constrictor or similarly large snake, and then races to close and lock a gate as a lion leaps at him at that gate.
  • Teddy Roosevelt informs Larry that if any of the museum figures are outside of the building when the sun rises, they'll turn to dust.
  • Larry reads that Attila likes to tear the limbs off others and there's a drawing of him and/or his men pulling a man by all four limbs (that are still attached to his body).
  • We see Dexter opening a museum window and then a caveman jumping out it. Larry races out to get him, but it's too late as the sun rises and the caveman dissolves away into dust.
  • Huge Egyptian guard figures (15 to 20 feet tall) try to strike Larry with their huge spears as he and Nick race into the museum's Egyptian wing, and let Ahkmenrah out of his sarcophagus. The mummy then looks at Larry and starts to unwrap his head dressing, but he turns out to be a normal looking young man rather than a monster.
  • Jed and Octavius race along in a toy car but then go over a snow bank and crash (we see smoke from behind it) and Larry assumes they're dead, but they later return alive.
  • Larry and various museum figures (including the T-Rex skeleton) chase a fleeing bad security guard (on a horse drawn carriage) through a snowy park at night. Larry then gives the signal for the horses to stop and that sends the crook flying through the air until he lands in the snow. Attila's men then grab and pick him up, with Larry giving the okay for them to do a little limb pulling with him.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Swords/Spears/Knives/Pistols/Shotguns/Arrows/Bayonets/Catapults: Carried by various museum characters and/or used to threaten or try to harm others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Jed and other diorama figurines use dynamite to try to blow through a wall, but they're working with duds.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Let's talk turkey," "He looks like a weirdee," "Listen lunchbox," "Snack shack," "Are you cracking wise, hopscotch?" "Dum-dum," "Crackerjack," "For crying out loud," "Bully" (said in an exaggerated fashion), "Dang," "Dadgum," "Keep a lid on it, butterscotch," "There's a storm coming" (retribution), "Fat head," "Step aside, gigantor," "Mary" (for a guy), "Freak," "No problemo," "Don't be a kiss ass," "Poppycock," "For the love of Gideon," "Your dad just got canned, dude," "I screwed up," "It's freaking awesome," "Toga boy," "Just chill" and "You rock."
  • Some of the fighting and general chaos inside the museum might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • Alone in the museum, Larry sings and makes various goofy noises and such over the PA system.
  • Larry finds that one of the Neanderthals has set his head on fire, so he puts him out with a fire extinguisher. Another caveman tastes the foam and then flings some onto Larry.
  • Larry and Dexter the monkey get into a slapping match.
  • After Attila yells something unintelligible to Larry, the security guard does his own version back, with both then going back and forth with such yelling.
  • A caveman shoots a fire extinguisher into his own mouth.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Teddy Roosevelt suddenly moves after seemingly being frozen in his customary pose, thus startling Larry (played for laughs).
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme about of suspenseful, action-oriented, and dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 ass and 1 use each of "For God's sakes," "Good Lord" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see a little cleavage.
  • Rebecca shows a tiny bit of cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Larry learns his son didn't invite him to the parent career day at his school (since Larry doesn't have a real job).
  • Erica tells Larry (her ex-husband) that there's too much instability in his life and that she doesn't think Nick should stay with him until there's some stability.
  • Larry isn't happy when he learns that his son wants to be more like Don than him.
  • Nick sees his dad be fired (but Larry then gets the job back).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Museums and the attractions within them.
  • History and how learned lessons can help those in the present.
  • Having divorced parents.
  • About his and Octavius' aggression toward each other, Jed says, "We're men, we fight."
  • Jed comments on manifest destiny.
  • VIOLENCE
  • All of the following is played for comedy and/or fantasy action & adventure rather than graphic realism (the rating of "heavy" comes from the quantity rather than the degree of what's present).
  • A hockey puck accidentally hits Larry on the head, knocking him to the ice (he's a spectator).
  • Larry falls from his chair to the floor when he dozes off (slapstick style).
  • A full-size T-Rex skeleton chases after and snaps at Larry who takes cover behind the circular information counter that the skeleton repeatedly rams with its large head. Larry frantically calls Cecil for help, but all he tells Larry is to read the instructions he earlier gave him. The dinosaur skeleton then lifts part of the information counter away, exposing Larry who reacts in fright. But he then learns that all the dinosaur wants to do is play fetch with one of its rib bones and the scene immediately turns from scary to fun as the dinosaur acts like a big puppy dog wanting the bone. Its tail then accidentally hits Larry in passing, knocking him across the room and onto some concrete steps.
  • Attila and his men chase after Larry with their swords. Larry ducks into an elevator to escape, but Attila gets his head between the closing doors. However, the elevator then moves, causing Attila's head to go "up" and hit the top of the door (slapstick style).
  • As Larry tries to hide from Attila by lying under a display, a bayonet comes across his body and a faceless Civil War figure (some sort of material covers his and others' faces) fires his rifle at others, resulting in a shootout and thrusting of bayonets right over Larry. A small-scale battle breaks out, including one figure tripping another.
  • Dexter the monkey bites Larry on the nose through a gate, but there's no blood.
  • Tiny museum figures fire equally tiny arrows into Larry's face and then hand, causing him some temporary numbness.
  • Tiny museum figures trip Larry who falls into the Old West diorama where cowboys and other figures tie him to the ground like Gulliver. Jed then calls for a train to ram Larry and it does so in the face, but it's so small it bounces off him and derails.
  • Larry flicks a small diorama figurine off his shoulder (we don't see where it lands).
  • Octavius calls for flaming arrows and catapults to be fired at Larry, but they're so small they don't do him any harm as Teddy Roosevelt then arrives and gives him a ride away from the chaos.
  • Larry reads that Attila likes to tear the limbs off others and there's a drawing of him and/or his men pulling a man by all four limbs (that are still attached to his body).
  • Tiny Mayan warriors fire arrows at Larry, but he blocks them with something he's holding and then closes a glass partition that blocks more arrows.
  • When Attila realizes Larry's magic tricks were faked, he has his men grab and then pull Larry by his four limbs.
  • During a museum melee, we briefly see a big sword fight among various figures while Jed and Octavius spar.
  • Larry finds that one of the Neanderthals has set his head on fire, so he puts him out with a fire extinguisher. Another caveman tastes the foam and then flings some onto Larry.
  • Larry and Dexter the monkey get into a slapping match.
  • Enhanced by magical powers that give him and the other guards super strength (for their age), Cecil grabs and throws Larry to the floor. Gus then twice strikes Larry, followed by Cecil doing a spin-around, martial arts style kick to him, knocking him back. Gus then strikes Larry again, followed by Cecil flipping Larry to the floor.
  • Huge Egyptian guard figures (15 to 20 feet tall) try to strike Larry with their huge spears as he and Nick race into the museum's Egyptian wing.
  • During a museum melee, we see quick views of all sorts of fighting among both large and small figures and figurines.
  • Jed slams his rifle butt down to Octavius' foot, prompting him to whack Jed on the leg with something.
  • Christopher Columbus holds his sword on a bad security guard.
  • Miniature figurines let the tire out of a getaway vehicle, but the resultant blast of air blows many of them away.
  • A whale uses its blowhole to blast a bad security guard backwards with water.
  • Larry throws a cannonball through a glass display case to let Sacajawea out.
  • A bad security guard tries to escape on a horse drawn carriage, with Teddy Roosevelt knocking Sacajawea out of the way just in time. However, we see then see that the wagon's wheel cut Teddy Roosevelt in half (top and bottom), but since he's a wax figure, he's okay (no blood and he's later reassembled with hot wax).
  • Jed and Octavius race along in a toy car but then go over a snow bank and crash (we see smoke from behind it) and Larry assumes they're dead, but they later return alive.
  • Larry and various museum figures (including the T-Rex skeleton) chase a fleeing bad security guard (on a horse drawn carriage) through a snowy park at night. Larry then gives the signal for the horses to stop and that sends the crook flying through the air until he lands in the snow. Attila's men then grab and pick him up, with Larry giving the okay for them to do a little limb pulling with him.
  • Dexter the monkey slaps Larry.



  • Reviewed December 21, 2006 / Posted December 22, 2006

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