Comedy starring Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Mickey Rooney and Dick Van Dyke. Larry Daley (Stiller) is a kind-hearted dreamer who always knew that he was destined for greatness, he just never quite knew how. None of his ideas or inventions have panned out so, with a heavy heart, he takes a regular job as a lowly graveyard-shift security guard at the Museum of Natural History in order to provide a more stable life for himself and his ten-year-old son, Nick (Jake Cherry). On his first night on the job, however, he finds that guardianship of the museum is far from stable. At nightfall an Egyptian spell brings the artifacts and wax figures to life. With Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher) charging to war through the hallways, the diorama miniatures embroiled in a deadly feud, and a two-ton Tyrannosaurus Rex nagging to play fetch, Larry turns to a wax replica of President Roosevelt (Williams) for a little advice on keeping things intact.
An irresistible concept meets computer-generated wonders in Night at the Museum, inspired by a 1993 children's book by Milan Trenc. Ben Stiller stars as Larry Daley, an underachieving inventor waiting for his ship to come in while getting evicted from one apartment after another for lack of funds. Larry's son needs some stability, so the well-meaning ne'er-do-well takes a job as night watchman at New York City's Museum of Natural History. What the soon-to-retire guards (Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs) don't tell him is that an ancient pharaoh's tablet in the museum causes everything on display to come to life at night. Thus, Larry meets representations of Teddy Roosevelt, Attila the Hun, fire-worshipping cavemen, and Roman Empire soldiers, and learns to cope with an excitable T-Rex and man-eating, ancient animals. The film might have left things at that, but an added story element gives Night at the Museum some extra urgency and excitement, especially for kids: Larry becomes responsible for keeping this nightly miracle going and preventing anything in the museum from dying due to exposure to sunrise. Computer effects, as well as wildly imaginative costumes and makeup, help make the film appeal to the 8-year-old in everyone. Director Shawn Levy (The Pink Panther) works with a hugely talented cast, including Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais, Carla Gugino, and Steve Coogan. --Tom Keogh