Night at the Museum: Rhythm and Hues
EW Staff
December 05, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

Night at the Museum

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
110 minutes
Wide Release Date
12/22/06
performer
Ben Stiller, Ernest Borgnine, Dick Van Dyke, Ricky Gervais, Carla Gugino, Mickey Rooney, Robin Williams
director
Shawn Levy
distributor
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
author
Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon
genre
Comedy, ActionAdventure, Kids and Family
We gave it a C+

Known for his prickly-guy comic persona, Ben Stiller wasn’t shopping for a big-budget family flick. But he loved the idea of playing a security guard at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History who discovers, through his three geezer co-workers (Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Bill Cobbs), that after hours, exhibits come alive — including a T. rex skeleton, teeny diorama people, and the Teddy Roosevelt dummy (Robin Williams). ”I grew up on [Manhattan’s] West Side,” says Stiller. ”I felt a connection with that museum. There’s a line in the script about cutting school to go there. That’s reality — I used to do that, because it’s a magical place.”

When Stephen Sommers (the Mummy pictures) fell out as director, the studio realigned with Shawn Levy (The Pink Panther). His toughest job, aside from tricky CG effects: balancing snark and sentiment. ”There is a dark comic heart that beats loudly in Ben,” says Levy. ”But he’s come to work on this movie with a willingness to be unironic and openhearted. Even when he doesn’t go there naturally, he’s been trusting of me to lead him there.”

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