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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Don’t forget to lock the monkey cage…

Published: January 19, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

Most children believe that when you turn the lights off, your dolls and stuffed animals come to life (admit it, you were one of those kids). But unfortunately for us, that never actually happened. However, in this years blockbuster hit Night at the Museum, your childhood dreams will finally come true.

In Night at the Museum, Ben Stiller plays Larry Daley, an out of work divorcee looking for a job that will make his son proud of him. Daley excitingly decides to apply for a job at the Museum of Natural History, until he realizes the only position they can offer him is the job of the night watchmen. Reluctantly, Daley accepts the job and returns at nightfall to take instructions from the head night watchmen, played by Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs. Yes, Dick Van Dyke, the same guy who danced with penguins in Mary Poppins. The one interesting piece of advice that the night watchmen give Daley is, Dont let anything in or out.

As the night progresses, Daley tries to amuse himself by singing classic 80s songs on the intercom, until he realizes that the dinosaur featured in the main entrance is no longer standing in its usual spot. As he walks down the hall, he sees the dinosaur standing at the water fountain just getting a sip of water. Daley quickly realizes that everything in the museum comes to life at night. As the evening progresses, he meets some interesting characters along the way.

Although this movie is officially described as a kid movie, it is something that everyone will find enjoyable. Even though Stillers character has an ongoing feud with a stuffed tricky monkey, named Dexter, who keeps getting out of his cage, there are also characters for an older audience. Robin Williams plays a wax figure of ex-president Teddy Roosevelt, and Owen Wilson plays a feisty cowboy, who is feuding with the Romans in the Ancient Roman exhibit next door.

Night at the Museum is a great movie for anyone who likes comedy, or just enjoys museums. There is, however, one downside to this film: it wasnt actually filmed at the Museum of Natural History in New York. The only parts of the museum that actually made it into the movie are the exterior shots, the dinosaur, and one scene featuring a large whale hanging from the ceiling. So much for authenticity.